Alleged victim in priest abuse case comes forward, speaks of healing process

David Huneck
David Huneck(WPTA)
Updated: Oct. 15, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - One of the alleged victims in the investigation into a local priest who is facing several sex crime charges has now come forward.

The priest, David Huneck, had served as pastor of St. Paul of the Cross church in Columbia City and as a chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne before stepping down following the accusations of assault.

He was then charged with child seduction, sexual battery, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, furnishing alcohol to a minor, and two counts of battery.

Court documents released in the case show he invited two victims, then aged 17 and 19, to his home and gave them alcohol before assaulting them on two different occasions.

Monday afternoon, Mariella Warney sent a statement to ABC21 saying she no longer wants to be anonymous.

“I want everyone to know that I am okay, although emotionally devastated, and that I no longer want to remain in the shadows of being anonymous,” Warney wrote.

She said while she will not discuss details of the case, she said she feels as though the ongoing investigations are justified, and consequences need to be met.

In the letter, she said she extends her gratitude to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and those in the legal system for making “this process go as smoothly as possible”.

She wrote about her healing process and the empathy she has for other survivors of abuse.

Read her statement in full:

“To all those affected by the recent events involving Father David Huneck, my name is Mariella Warney. I am the individual being referred to as “victim one” in the criminal case against Father Huneck because I was the minor at the time of the sexual assault that was reported to the diocese and the police. I am making this statement to share my story and my truth. I want everyone to know that I am okay, although emotionally devastated, and that I no longer want to remain in the shadows of being anonymous. For my sake and the sake of the criminal case, I will not discuss details of the case. I will say that I feel that everything being done is fair and justified in both the legal and diocesan cases. These actions could not stay in the dark any longer and proper consequences had to be met.

I would like to extend my gratitude to the Diocese of Fort Wayne- South Bend and everyone in the legal system who has made this process go as smoothly as possible. Throughout this confusing and troubling time, I have felt completely supported every step of the way.

Healing from this is going to take time, as my healing process has just begun. I am asking that we come together for one another as a community to help us all heal from these shocking events. I know this news is not easy to hear or to process, but with time, we can get through this if we support each other.

My heart and prayers go out to all survivors of abuse of any kind. You are so strong. I want you to know that you are loved and supported even through the darkest of times. I know that coming forward is not comfortable or easy, but when you are ready, know that it is safe. I encourage you to come forward, speak your truth, seek justice, and begin your healing process, as I have begun mine.”

Mariella Warney

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