Sins of the Fathers
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
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
|| • 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
• 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.