Diocese adds name of accused
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend on Tuesday added another name to its list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
Gerald Funcheon, a priest of the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross, also known as the Crosiers, was sued in 2007 in Allen County by a man who said he was abused at a Catholic Youth Organization camp at Lake Wawasee.
Funcheon was not on lists of credibly accused clergy issued in September and October by diocesan Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.
That’s despite court documents in which Funcheon admitted abusing as many as 18 children and teens and that he might have more than 50 victims, according to lawyers with Jeff Anderson and Associates of St. Paul, Minnesota.
In court documents and in previous interviews with The Journal Gazette, the firm’s attorneys have said Funcheon since 2003 has faced civil lawsuits alleging abuse in California, Hawaii and Minnesota.
He was removed from ministry in 1993, according to an assignment list provided by the local diocese Tuesday.
The Journal Gazette reported allegations against Funcheon in 2014. The abuse was alleged by two men to have taken place at the Crosier seminary in Onamia, Minnesota.
The local suit was dismissed in 2009. Allen Superior Court Judge Stanley Levine ruled that neither the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese nor the Crosier order was legally responsible for Funcheon’s alleged behavior because they were unaware of it and it was not related to the performance of his duties.
The case, filed by Stephen Eckert of Indianapolis, was formally closed in 2012.
The document released Tuesday by the local diocese lists one credible allegation. The document, like previous lists, does not include dates or circumstances of the alleged abuse.
But the addition of Funcheon to the list of 20 previously released names was based on additional information about an old allegation from the Crosiers, not a new allegation, said Stephanie Patka, diocesan spokeswoman. The abuse was alleged to have taken place while the cleric was assigned in the diocese.
For many years, the Crosiers operated Our Lady of the Lake Seminary in Syracuse. Funcheon was a teacher and athletic director there from 1966 to 1969. He also taught and was prefect of discipline at Wawasee Preparatory School in Syracuse.
Ordained in the diocese by the late Bishop Leo Pursley, according to an assignment history provided by the order, Funcheon served outside the local diocese in 1965, 1969 to 1973 and 1975 to 1987.
Prior to his removal, he was a priest in the Diocese of Lafayette. At some time, he might have been a Boy Scout chaplain in the Warsaw area.
Patka said the diocese will continue to amend the list of credibly accused priests as circumstances warrant. She said no new accusations had surfaced. Additions will be posted on the diocese’s website at www.diocesefwsb.org.