Priest accused of sexual battery to plead guilty in January

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 11:23 AM EST
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WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) - Prosecutors say a local priest who is facing several sex crime charges has entered into a plea agreement for the two most serious charges, facing a maximum of 90 days behind bars if the agreement is accepted.

Fort Wane’s NBC obtained a copy of a plea agreement filed in Whitley County Superior Court. It shows David Huneck intends to plead guilty to the child seduction and sexual battery charges, both level 6 felonies. Four other counts he was originally charged with, all misdemeanors, would be dropped if the special judge accepts the plea agreement.

The agreement calls for Huneck to serve 10-90 days behind bars. It allows for Huneck to request that the time be served on work release. The agreement also allows Huneck to request that the felonies be reduced to misdemeanors at the time of sentencing.

The change of plea hearing is set for Jan. 27, and prosecutors say he could also be sentenced at that hearing.

In October, two young women-- one 19, the other 17 at the time-- came forward accusing Huneck of groping them and exposing himself to them inside his residence on separate occasions in June and September.

Huneck resigned from St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church where he had served as parish pastor in Columbia City and he resigned his position as a chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne. Court documents released in the case accuse him of inviting the young women to his home and giving them alcohol before assaulting them.

The Whitley County prosecutor says he consulted with the victims before signing his name to the plea deal.

“My first focus is always achieving justice for the community, but also, concurrently, making sure that our young victims are taken care of, making sure that they’re heard, making sure that they have input into the process...I’m happy for the victims if in fact and when the change of plea occurs that the matter will be concluded as far as I’m concerned, and I hope for them too, so that they can move on,” D.J. Sigler said.

Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese said back in the fall he was shocked and troubled by the accusations against Huneck, placing his name on the ongoing list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

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

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