An Indiana priest has been placed on administrative leave after the Diocese of Evansville received a report of sexual misconduct against him, the Courier & Press reports. Father David Fleck of the Diocese of Evansville has denied the claim.
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The abuse complaint happened decades ago, the Diocese said in a statement, which provided no details about the nature of the complaint. The Diocese has not released any information on who made the claim or when the report was brought to its attention.
The complaint against Fleck comes amid a renewed controversy around the Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse complaints. In August 2018, a Pennsylvania grand jury report released a damning report on the topic, identifying over 300 Catholic priests who had been named in credible sexual abuse complaints within 6 Pennsylvania dioceses. The report has reignited a global conversation, sending shockwaves through both the Catholic community and the general public.
Continue Reading: Shocking Report Brings Attention To Sexual Abuse In The Catholic Church
“Privacy concerns of an alleged victim and the reputation of our priest – in case such allegations are determined not to be credible – must also be taken into account,” the Diocese wrote in a statement emailed to the Courier & Press. “As a result, diocesan staff will not comment further at this time.”
The Diocese told reporters that the complaint, once received, was immediately reported to the district attorney’s office for Knox County, as well as the State of Indiana’s Child Protective Services hotline.
The Diocese has begun its own internal investigation, also forwarding the complaint on to the Diocesan Review Board. In 2002, Catholic bishops in the United States ordered each bishop to establish a confidential review board, staffed in the majority by lay persons, to help their Diocese investigate claims of Catholic sexual abuse against minors.
Fleck is barred from all public ministry while the investigations into his conduct are ongoing.
Father David Fleck is now 69-years-old. Ordained around 43 years ago, he began his service as an associate at Corpus Christi Church. He served as a teacher at Mater Dei High School, in Evansville, between 1975 and 1979, spending the year of 1976 as an associate at St. Joseph Church. Father Fleck went on to teach at Rivet High School in Vincesses from 1979 to 1986.
During the intervening years, Fleck also served at the following churches:
Father Fleck also served as Vocations Director for the Diocese of Evansville between 1986 and 1992.
In light of the troubling allegations against David Fleck, our experienced Indiana sexual abuse attorneys have opened a full investigation into the Diocese of Evansville’s handling of sexual misconduct reports. To further our investigation, we’re reaching out to members of the Evansville, Vincennes, Petersburgh, Montgomery, Oakland City and Bicknell community for information.
Were you or a loved one sexually abused by a priest from the Diocese of Evansville? We understand that this must be a difficult time for you, but you are not alone. Thousands of survivors have stepped forward in recent years to report similar claims of abuse, filing their own private lawsuits in civil court. We can help. Our compassionate lawyers have helped countless survivors come forward with confidence. Our only goal is to support survivors in their pursuit of justice.
Sexual abuse can draw up a storm of conflicting and painful emotions, from grief and anger to shame and embarrassment. Just know that this was not your fault. You did nothing to deserve what happened to you. The only people who deserve to be blamed are the perpetrator and any Church officials who enabled the abuse to occur. You did nothing wrong.