Sins of the Fathers

Indianapolis Star
February 16, 1997

[See links to all the articles in this series from the Indianapolis Star.]

Here are thumbnail sketches of 16 current and former priests of the Lafayette Diocese accused of sexual abuse or misconduct over the past 25 years. Some names are withheld to protect victims or confidential sources.

Of the 16, seven were accused of wrongdoing with children or teens, and nine were accused of sexual incidents with adults.

Six of the priests currently serve in the diocese in various capacities, six no longer function as priests in Indiana, one has quit the priesthood and three are dead. There are no known child abusers currently in the diocese.

Abuses with Minors

Monsignor Arthur Sego, 75, who lives in a priest retirement home near St. Louis, was accused of sexual abuse or misconduct with as many as 16 girls, teen-agers or young women over several decades. His abuses started in the 1950s; he was removed from the pulpit in 1994. Victims accuse him of a range of acts, including fondling them and photographing their naked or partially clothed bodies. Sego denies some abuses but admits to others.

• The Rev. Ron Voss, 55, who resigned his ministry in 1993, was accused of sexually abusing eight male teen-agers. At least some abuses occurred at a family camp led by Voss in northern Delaware County. First accused in 1988, Voss received therapy and moved to Haiti. He quit the priesthood after his correspondence to camp families spurred concerns among some as to whether he posed a threat in Haiti. Those concerns prompted Vicar General Rev. Robert Sell to visit Voss, a trip that yielded Voss' resignation. In Haiti, Voss works for a program that matches parishes there with churches in the United States that contribute aid.
• The Rev. Ken Bohlinger, who no longer functions as a priest, admits to sexually abusing an undisclosed number of minors, all male. Some known abuses occurred during the 1980s when he was a priest in Anderson. A wisecracker who was obese and lonely, Bohlinger found comfort in the company of boys. He used camping as a way of getting them alone. He admits to supplying alcohol and pornography to boys, and masturbating with them. Some acts, he said, "you couldn't print." Bohlinger now lives and works in Tucson, Ariz.
• The Rev. Raymond Wieber was accused of sexually abusing male teens while a priest at St. Lawrence Church in Muncie. He died of cancer in August 1993 at age 53 while undergoing counseling after being accused of abusing a teen-age altar boy. Though Wieber insisted he was innocent, he was removed from the pulpit in Wheatfield and evaluated. In a lawsuit filed by the victim, and later dropped, Wieber was accused of using alcohol and LSD in his "repeated and systematic" sexual abuse of the youth in 1969 and 1970.
• The Rev. Donald Tracey, who died in June 1989, was accused of sexual misconduct with high school and college students. He also was identified as having sexually abused a teen-ager who later became a priest himself. Tracey was terminated from his job at Lafayette Central Catholic High School more than 15 years ago for abusing a male student in an incident involving drinking. Tracey had been a successful track and cross country coach at the school. The victim's mother says she confronted the priest before his death. He was unrepentant.
• The Rev. Gerald Funcheon, who was banished from the diocese, says he was accused by one family of "planning" to molest their son. Later, he says, a second allegation arose. That accuser recalled an incident through hypnosis. In a letter to The Indianapolis Star and The Indianapolis News, Funcheon denied both charges but admitted seeking counseling on his own years earlier to help him lead a celibate life. Removed from his pulpit in the early 1990s and assigned to a facility in Dittmer, Mo., Funcheon has been living in the Northwest, caring for his invalid mother.

This priest was accused but cleared by the diocese of fondling his 13-year-old niece in 1983. The priest denies the charge, and Bishop William Higi went to the priest's church to proclaim the man innocent. The victim says she is telling the truth and says her family suffered because of her uncle's "improprieties:" Last February, she made her claims to parishioners and to authorities, who did not prosecute. The priest continues to serve at a church in the diocese. Because he was cleared, his name is withheld.

Misconduct with Adults

• The Rev. Ronald Maupin, a homosexual priest who served at St. Francis of Assisi Newman Center in Muncie, was badly beaten in 1983 by a young man he had taken into his home and was counseling. Ten years to that day, after moving to California, Maupin was found fatally stabbed in the bedroom of his Napa Valley home. He was 47. A 22-year-old man was convicted of his murder. Prosecutors say Maupin picked up the man at a bar and was killed during a sex act.

• The Rev. Philip Mahalic, 50, was accused by a former seminarian of abusing his power over him during a sexual relationship. The accuser, a Lafayette man, says the abuse occurred while he was in his mid-30s and studying for the priesthood. Mahalic denies any abuse or affair, but admits he violated his celibacy by allowing his accuser to touch him sexually on do occasions. He says those incidents occurred in the early 1990s. At the time, Mahalic served a new parish at Geist. Mahalic was sent to therapy and now is the pastor at Sorrowful Mother Church in Wheatfield.
• The Rev. Robert Moran, 52, was accused by a priest of taking sexual advantage of him during a counseling session in West Lafayette. At the time, the accuser was a 19-year-old college student. Moran and the student went on to have a 15-year sexual relationship, which ended in 1994 when the accuser decided he had been exploited. The accuser is no longer a practicing Catholic, nor does he function as a priest. Moran was sent to therapy. He is back in the pulpit at St. John the Evangelist Church in Hartford City.

• This is the priest who walked away from the priesthood after having the sexual relationship with Father Moran. The accuser's name is withheld because he considers himself an abuse victim. However, Bishop Higi sees both the accuser and Moran as consenting adults who violated their sexual "boundaries."

• This priest has been accused of homosexual behavior with at least two fellow priests. One of the accusers described the advances as aggressive and unsolicited. The name of the accused is withheld because both alleged victims declined to be interviewed. Other sources, however, said they learned of the charges directly from one accuser or from a confidant of the other. The accused priest holds an influential post in the diocese.

• This priest has a history of accusations of sexual involvement with female parishioners who came to him for help. In 1981, a married woman walked to the front of St. Mary Church in Anderson during a service and denounced the priest. Soon after that incident, the priest left his pulpit.

• This priest, who has a history of alcoholism, was accused of sexual involvement with one or more adult men. The priest recently returned to the diocese from months of therapy for an undisclosed problem. He denied wrongdoing but declined an interview.

• This priest was accused of frequent homosexual activities in a public park in Anderson during the mid- to late 1980s. When someone complained, he was removed from his church and sent to therapy. Now at a different church in the diocese, the priest declined an interview.

• This priest was accused while in the seminary of propositioning a fellow student. The priest calls the charge false. Despite concerns about whether he would be celibate, he became a priest in the Lafayette Diocese in the early 1990s. Since his ordination, he admits, he had a homosexual relationship. He says he does not consider that a violation of his commitment to the church. The priest currently serves in another state, but says it is likely he will return someday to the Lafayette Diocese.


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