12 priests from diocese suspected of sexual misconduct over the last 74 years

By Ron Wilkins
Lafayette Journal & Courier
October 01, 2018

Twelve priests in the Diocese of Lafayette's 74-year history likely sexually abused minors, according to a special edition of "The Catholic Moment" published online on Friday.

The publication of the priests' names, date of ordination, action taken and current status comes eight days after a man using the pseudonym John Doe filed a civil lawsuit, claiming that Father James Grear sexually abused him in 1982 at a Catholic youth rally at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Carmel, Indiana. 

Grear is one of the 12 named in the list, which Bishop Timothy L. Doherty, in the Sept. 16 edition of "The Catholic Moment," said was committed to releasing.

Grear was ordained on May 30, 1970. He was removed from public ministry and his priestly faculties removed in October 2001, according to Friday's publication. However, lawsuits filed last month and in 2011 accused Grear of sexual misconduct in 1982 and 1975, respectively.

The diocese's article defines substantiated allegations as those found to have reasonable cause to believe that abuse with a minor occurred. But the article also noted it is not a legal judgment. 

Other priests on the list include:

• Kenneth Bohlinger, who was ordained May 22, 1976. He was removed from public ministry in August 1988 and removed as a member of the clergy on March 27, 2009.

• Joseph Colletti, who was ordained May 29, 1971. He was removed from public ministry in July 1990, and the church is in the process of removing him from its clergy.

Gerald Funcheon, who was ordained May 22, 1965. The Crosier Fathers incardinated him — put him under another's authority — in July 1987 and removed him from public ministry. He is restricted to a life of prayer and penance in a supervised facility. Funcheon has been named as a defendant in previous lawsuits that also names the Crosier organization as defendants.

• Frank Kilcline was ordained May 2, 1981. He was removed from public ministry in July 2012, and the church is in the process of removing him from its clergy.

• Ambrose Kohne was ordained June 11, 1929. The diocese received allegations of abuse in August 2018. Kohne died April 4, 1964.

• Arthur Sego was ordained June 15, 1946. He was removed from public ministry in July 1994 and restricted to a life of prayer and penance. He died Sept. 7, 1998.

• Donald Tracey was ordained May 31, 1958. He was removed from ministry because of illness leading to his death. The allegations of misconduct were received during his illness. He died June 4, 1989.

• Ronald Voss was ordained May 20, 1967. He resigned as a priest in September 1993. The church removed him from its clergy on June 6, 1998.

• Raymond Wieber was ordained May 24, 1969. He was granted a leave of absence in November 1992 and died on Aug. 17, 1993.

The list includes two priests from religious orders who served in the diocese.

They are:

• Charles Cichanowicz, who was ordained in 1980. He left the diocese in August 1991, and the church removed him as one of its clergy in 1994.

• Gilbert Esser was ordained in 1924. He died May 15, 1979.

The Lafayette Diocese includes parishes in Benton, Blackford, Boone, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Delaware, Fountain, Fulton, Grant, Hamilton, Howard, Jasper, Jay, Madison, Miami, Montgomery, Newton, Pulaski, Randolph, Tippecanoe, Tipton, Warren and White counties, according to the lawsuit filed Sept. 20.

The article in "The Catholic Moment" urges those who are victims of abuse or neglect to call the Child Protection Agency hotline at 800-800-5556 or a local law enforcement agency.

Those who have been abused by clergy also are asked to call Doris May, the victim assistance minister and head of the pastoral response team. Her number is 765-464-4988. They also may call Charles "Max" Layden, conduct in ministry officer, at 765-742-7646.



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