Priest in 1976 Sex Scandal Resigns from Pregnancy Center
May 20, 2016
The Rev. Kenneth Kaucheck, the banished priest who was removed from parishes in Royal Oak and Ferndale seven years ago over decades-old allegations he had sex with a teenage girl he was counseling, has resigned from a Catholic center that takes in pregnant teens and women.
The Archdiocese of Detroit said in a statement that Kaucheck’s job as development director for Gianna House Pregnancy and Parenting Center violated the restrictions placed on his ministry when he was removed from St. Mary Parish in Royal Oak and St. James Parish in Ferndale in 2009.
Kaucheck was in his mid-20s and was assigned to Guardian Angels Parish in Clawson in 1976 when he was accused of having a sexual relationship, which reportedly included a trip to Florida, with a 16-year-old pregnant teen he was counseling. Church officials became aware of the relationship and reassigned Kaucheck to a parish in Dearborn. The allegations resurfaced in 2009, and the Diocese banished Kaucheck from public ministry.
In a statement Thursday, the Archdiocese of Detroit said the church doesn’t own Gianna House, which operates out of a former convent adjacent to St. Veronica Catholic Church in Eastpointe.
"Gianna House is not owned, operated or officially affiliated with the Archdiocese of Detroit,” the Archdiocese wrote. “Father Kaucheck was a cofounder of Gianna House and took on leadership positions there, and did so without the knowledge or approval of the Archdiocese. ... The Archdiocese continues to address this matter in a canonical process overseen by the Congregation for Clergy at the Vatican."
Kaucheck co-founded the pregnancy and parenting center with Sister Mary Diane Masson.
Archdiocese spokesman Ned McGrath told the Detroit Free Press that Kaucheck and his canon lawyer had been notified in August 2015 that Kaucheck was violating the terms of the prohibition on public ministry.
The Archdiocese "heard he might be involved in some way with fundraising," McGrath told the newspaper.
Gianna House officials have said that Kaucheck, who lives at the Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills, did not keep hours at the Eastpointe facility, did not have a counseling role there and was never at Gianna House when girls were there.
Diane Trombley, a nurse and pro-life activist who is a member of Gianna House’s board of directors, told the Detroit Free Press she thinks “people have the wrong idea that Father Ken was there, living there ... and that just wasn't the case.”
She worries that media coverage about the situation could limit the center's ability to do good work, and said that as she understands it, Vatican courts found no misbehavior on Kaucheck's part.
"I don't want Gianna House damaged because somewhere someone said something happened. I don't know if anything happened,” she told the Free Press. “I just know I care deeply about Gianna House and I recognize the need for Gianna House and I want it to succeed, as does everyone else on the board."