Jodi Marlin
September 28, 2021 // Bishop

Columbia City pastor resigns; administrator appointed

Jodi Marlin

Following an allegation of misconduct received Sept. 19 against St. Paul of the Cross pastor Father David Huneck, Father Huneck has resigned from his position at the parish and from his role as co-chaplain of Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne.

Due to the credibility of the allegation — as determined by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend — Father Huneck has been suspended from all public priestly ministry as a precautionary measure. His name has also been added to a public diocesan list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

Photos by Jennifer Barton

According to a statement issued by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades Sept. 28, on Sept. 19 the diocese became aware of allegations that Father Huneck, a priest of the diocese for three years, had engaged in sexual misconduct and that one of the two victims was a minor. Consistent with diocesan policy, the diocese immediately notified the Department of Child Services of the allegations and asked that they be forwarded to the Columbia City Police Department. A criminal investigation is underway.

At a news conference that took place at the diocesan chancery Sept. 28, Bishop Rhoades said he was disturbed and disappointed by the fact that the alleged misconduct was recent and that it had been committed by a priest who had not been at his ministry for a comparatively long period of time.

“It’s devastating to me. After all that’s happened in the Church, the rigorous screening that we do before accepting seminarians, the formation they receive in celibate chastity in the seminary …  I’d say that’s why it is was such a shock to me,” he told reporters.

Extensive psychological tests are conducted during the process of applying to seminary, and ongoing formation during seminary has been overwhelmingly successful giving future priests the spiritual and physical ability to live a celibate and chaste life. But seminarians and priests are not removed from temptation and sin, he acknowledged.

“I can’t really think of anything we could have done differently. There were no red flags. It’s extremely troubling.”

The allegations against Father Huneck constitute the first “active” case of potential sexual misconduct by a priest for Bishop Rhoades. In his 16 years as a bishop, all previous allegations involved incidents that had happened decades earlier, he said.

“Sexual abuse or misconduct by a priest hurts and causes confusion for victims, their families, and the entire Church. We have worked so hard here in our diocese to strengthen a safe environment in our Church for young people and will continue to do so. We will also continue to do our best to provide healing and hope to victims … the care of the victims is my No. 1 priority.”

Diocesan policy is to conduct a preliminary investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct. That investigation revealed that one of the alleged victims was a minor at the time, prompting a report to be made to the Indiana Department of Child Services. The diocese also requested that the department report the incident to Columbia City Police.

A great effort has been made, the bishop said, to reach out to both victims and to others who are angry, confused and saddened by the allegations. “My heart goes out the victims, and the communities that are deeply affected by this tragedy, which was a shock to us all,” he said.

“My heart also goes out to our faithful and devoted priests, who are also deeply hurt in these situations.”

A complete outline of the policies and procedures the diocese follows after an allegation of misconduct is made can be found on the diocesan website, The diocese will also reach out to the Fort Wayne parishes at which the priest served as a parochial vicar and, prior to ordination, as a pastoral assistant.

“The diocese is following the Church’s required protocols from the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People for responding effectively, appropriately, and compassionately to all allegations of sexual abuse of minors. We are committed to providing a safe environment for all people, especially the young and vulnerable. I am committed to purifying this scourge,” the Sept. 28 statement said.

“The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend extends our heartfelt prayers to all who are affected by this news and stands firm in its commitment to investigate any allegation of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy and to listen to and support anyone who has been abused,” it concluded.

To report an allegation of abuse, contact Mary Glowaski, victim’s assistance coordinator and assistant to the bishop in pastoral care, at [email protected] or 260-399-1458.

Click here for the news conference.

Click here for the statement from Bishop Rhoades.

‘Rebuild my house’

During a Mass celebrated at St. Paul of the Cross Oct. 4, Bishop Rhoades introduced an administrator for the parish: Father José Arroyo, who was ordained a priest in 2019 and has most recently served as a parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Goshen. 

“I’m excited to be part of this healing process here at St. Paul of the Cross,” he told the many parishioners present. “I love St. Francis and his role of wanting to rebuild the Church, and I think that’s my role – to know you, to love you and to serve you. That’s what I’m here for.

At a Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades Oct. 4 at St. Paul of the Cross, concelebrant Father José Arroyo was presented as administrator of the Columbia City parish.

The evening Mass was really a Mass of healing, the bishop said, “because when something happens like sexual misconduct by clergy, it hurts a lot of people. First of all, the victims. But also, it hurts others, including parishioners. Therefore, it’s important that we gather together in prayer.”

“I believe that we’re called to trust in the Lord,” added Father Arroyo. “I think that’s the most important thing, to trust in the Lord. He leads us, He has called us to existence, He loves us dearly and He wants us to just trust in Him like children trust in their loving parents.”

The feast of St. Francis of Assisi was celebrated the same day and was the focus of Bishop Rhoades’ homily. 

“Jesus spoke to him from the crucifix when he was in prayer and said, ‘Rebuild my house,” he told worshippers. “That’s so important, because the Church is always in need of reform and renewal. St. Francis so many centuries ago helped to rebuild the Church at that time, in the 13th century. 

“The other thing is St. Francis received the wounds of Jesus, called the stigmata. And it’s through the wounds of Jesus that we’re healed. It’s appropriate to look at that. I think in our own faith that we are healed by the wounds of Jesus, which are now glorious wounds. And my hope and prayer for this parish is that by the wounds of Jesus the people, the parishioners, will be healed and will be able to move forward with hope.”




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