Priest Abuse Support Group Responds To Fort Wayne Priest Charged With Child Sexual Abuse
COLUMBIA CITY, Indiana (WANE) – The Survivors’ Network for Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is responding after charges have been laid against a priest accused of sexually abusing two teenage boys.
Father David Huneck faces six counts, including two felonies, resulting from two separate incidents in which he allegedly offered alcohol and tampered with two teenagers in the house provided to him by the Saint Paul Catholic Church of the Cross in Columbia City. There he served as the pastor and chaplain of Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne.
SNAP is a non-profit organization that acts as a support group for men and women who have been abused by religious leaders. Melanie Sapkota, survivor support supervisor for SNAP, said that despite some myths that abuse in churches primarily affects young boys, the sex and age of victims vary.
“It’s probably roughly evenly divided between male and female survivors,” Sapkota said. “There is a slight advantage to male survivors, but maybe that’s because if you have clergy men he has more access to boys than he probably would to women, but there is a lot. of female victims there for both minors consent and people over the age of consent.
What is rare in this case, according to Sapkota, is that the charges were made so soon after the alleged abuses were reported. Whitley County District Attorney DJ Sigler credits the early action to the cooperation of those involved.
“Whenever you do an investigation of any type, cooperation is the key,” Sigler said. “I certainly felt like we got this from everyone, and I think our investigators had free access to get the information they needed to help me make a decision.”
Sigler said it also helped that the teenage victims, a minor and an adult, were very detailed in their accounts.
“The alleged victims have been both very clear and very specific about what happened,” Sigler said. “Anytime you have that kind of clarity and that level of thinking from your victims, it’s a good thing. With all the parties working together, I felt very, very comfortable moving forward.
Sapkota hopes cases like this will encourage more victims of abuse to come forward, no matter how comfortable they feel.
“There are probably many, many more victims and witnesses than we know, and whether this is information about this case or information about any other case, or even if it is not. in the Catholic Church, please if you have any information, come talk, speak up, ”Sapkota said. “Anyone can report to the CPS, anyone can speak to the media. Anyone can speak to the police. So if they have information, they don’t have to take it to church, they can take it directly to the police.