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Court hearing held for priest facing sexual misconduct allegations

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Father David Huneck appeared before a judge in Whitley County Wednesday for an initial hearing. The troubled priest faces six criminal charges, including sexual battery.

WHITLEY COUNTY, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) - A Catholic priest who has been barred from public ministry is hiring his own lawyer to defend him against a string of criminal charges related to sexual misconduct.

31-year old Father David Huneck appeared before Whitley Superior Court Judge Douglas Fahl Wednesday afternoon for an initial hearing.

Huneck is accused of groping two females inside the residence provided to him by the church that he was shepherding until he landed in trouble with the law.

Huneck is charged with two felonies, child seduction and sexual battery and four misdemeanor counts, including battery and furnishing alcohol to a minor.

Court charging documents allege Huneck engaged in sexual misconduct with a pair of young females that he invited over two different times to the home provided to him by St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in Columbia City where he was pastor until he resigned last month.

Court papers say in late June Father Huneck asked a 19-year old woman and a girl who was 17 at the time to come have cake and celebrate his birthday.

The alleged victims told police Huneck got drunk, groped them and suggested sex acts be performed on him.

The court narrative says he later apologized for his behavior.

But those court documents lay out that on September 17 he had the same teen-aged girls over to his place and he is accused that time of becoming intoxicated again and grabbing the 19-year old's buttocks and exposing himself.

The incidents were reported to leaders of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Diocese.

Huneck resigned as pastor of St. Paul of the Cross Church and as a chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School in Fort Wayne.

We asked the Whitley County prosecutor what are the chances more potential victims might come forward.

"Right now our investigation is concluded. If additional information should come to light, if we hear anything different we'll certainly follow it up, but right now these are the only two allegations that we're aware of and these are the only two that we're prosecuting presently," prosecutor D.J. Sigler said.

The two main criminal court judges in Whitley County are apparently practicing Catholics and either are members of or attended the church where Father Huneck served as pastor.

They will both likely recuse themselves from the case.

It's believed a senior judge will be approached about assuming responsibility for presiding over the case.

Father Huneck has a pre-trial conference court date scheduled for November 16.

Jeff Neumeyer

Jeff Neumeyer is a reporter for WPTA.

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