Priest with Ties to Mishawaka Among Two Added to "Credibly Accused" List by Local Diocese
By Caleb Bauer
South Bend Tribune
October 10, 2018
|Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend Kevin Rhoades released the names of two additional priests credibly accused of abuse.|
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has added two more priests to its list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing children, bringing the previously released listís tally to 20.
Bruce Schutt and Michael Paquet were announced as additions to the list in a news release Tuesday, a result of additional research into their backgrounds.
Schutt began his career in Mishawaka at St. Monica, where he was assigned from his ordination in 1965 until he was transferred to St. John the Baptist in Fort Wayne in 1968.
Two credible allegations were levied against Schutt according to Tuesdayís release. He lost his clerical state in 1975, after a few-month stint in the Diocese of LaCrosse, Wis.
The other priest, Paquet, was a member of the Crosiers and spent most of his tenure outside of the diocese on assignments. From 1979 to 1985, he was the director of the diocesan Ministry Center Retreat and also spent time as a youth minister in Fort Wayne.
Paquet was the subject of one credible allegation. He was removed from ministry in 2002 and defrocked in 2005.
The two names supplement the original list of 18 priests and a deacon who were identified last month by the diocese.
In a news release, diocesan spokeswoman Stephanie Patka said the ďaddition of Paquet and Schutt were the result of further analysis by the Diocesan Review Board and Bishop Rhoades of additional information received by the diocese regarding open investigations.Ē
Paquet was previously named by the Crosier Fathers as credibly accused.
Bishop Kevin Rhoades previously cited the release of an August Pennsylvania grand jury report, and urging from one local victim, as the impetus for his choice to release the list of priests. The Fort Wayne-South Bendís dioceseís release was the second in Indiana, after the Diocese of Gary released an August list of 10 priests accused of abuse.
This month, the Diocese of Lafayette also released a list of 12 priests who likely sexually abused children, after the Journal & Courier reported that an anonymous lawsuit accused a priest of sexually molesting a child and accused the diocese of covering it up.
The remaining two dioceses in Indiana, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and the Diocese of Evansville, have both announced plans to release lists of priests accused of child sex abuse, but both have not given timelines on when the lists will be published.
In Michigan, the stateís Attorney General Bill Schuette opened an investigation in August into the extent of the priest sex abuse scandal and allegations related to a cover-up. Last week, The Detroit Free Press reported that his office and state police seized documents from each of the stateís seven dioceses, which all stated that they cooperated fully with law enforcement.
Michigan is one of eight states nationwide that have opened attorney general investigations in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury reportís findings. That list includes Illinois, New York and Missouri.
In Kentucky, the state attorney generalís office has publicly expressed interest in launching an investigation, requesting that the state legislature authorize special statewide grand juries.
But here in Indiana, Attorney General Curtis Hillís office said there isnít anything they can do without a local investigation.
ďAny investigation of criminal sex abuse must begin at the local level with specific allegations against a person or organization,Ē said attorney generalís office spokeswoman Melissa Gustafson.
The stateís statute of limitation for charges in cases of child molestation may restrict prosecution after the alleged victim has turned 31. But in certain cases, depending on the severity and circumstances of an offense, there may be no statute of limitation.
The civil statute of limitation ends seven years after the victim turns 18.