Victim of priest child sexual abuse case against David Huneck comes forward

In a statement released Monday, Mariella Warney identified herself as 'victim one' in a sexual assault of a minor case against Father David Huneck.

Posted: Oct 11, 2021 10:39 PM
Updated: Oct 12, 2021 12:25 PM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- In a statement sent to FOX 55 on Monday, Mariella Warney identified herself as "Victim #1" in a church sexual abuse case against Rev. David Huneck.

Although Warney says she's emotionally devastated, she will no longer remain in the shadows.


David Huneck

This comes after Huneck resigned as chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School and as a pastor at Saint Paul of the Cross Catholic Church.

Huneck is charged with child seduction, sexual battery and furnishing alcohol to a minor in Whitley County.

Investigators say the 31-year-old offered alcohol to and groped two young women, one 17 and one 19. 

Melanie Sakoda with Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, says this incident isn’t surprising.

“Although Catholic bishops say clergy sexual abuse is a thing of the past, it really isn’t. It’s really unfortunate that their response is to keep things hidden and secret,” Sakoda said. 

Sakoda commended Warney’s bravery in coming forward.

“I think it’s important for victims to come forward if and when they’re ready. Whenever someone does come forward and share their story, they bring comfort to other people, whether or not they’re abused by the same person," she said.

Read Warney's full statement below: 

"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."

If you're a victim looking for more information, click here. 

The probable cause affidavit for Huneck can be found below.

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