3 more allege sex abuse by priest from city

The Journal Gazette, Inidiana/January 28, 2014

By Jeff Wiehe

Three more people have come forward with claims that a priest with local ties sexually abused them, the Fort Wayne-South Bend Roman Catholic Diocese announced Monday.

And the diocese is urging for anyone else who has been a victim of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy to come forward.

The Rev. James F. Seculoff, 77, resigned and was removed from ministry a little more than a week ago after someone with what the diocese called a “credible” allegation of sexual abuse came forward, the diocese said.

This person said Seculoff, who most recently was a pastor in an area southwest of South Bend, committed the abuse 44 years ago.

At that time, Seculoff was elevated from principal at the former Huntington Catholic High School to superintendent of diocesan schools.

A Fort Wayne native, Seculoff was once a pastor at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in New Haven for several years, according to diocese officials.

He also taught at Bishop Dwenger High School for a time.

No concrete details have been released about the three people who have come forward since the first person’s allegations.

But all three said the abuse happened when they were children, according to the diocese.

“The diocese, with great care and concern for all involved, initiated preliminary investigations,” read a statement from the diocese. “The results of those investigations were presented to the diocesan review board and to Bishop (Kevin) Rhoades.”

“The diocesan review board found these allegations, separately presented, to be highly credible and supported by substantial evidence, and so advised Bishop Rhoades,” the statement continued.

As required by church law, the diocese statement said, Rhoades directed that those allegation be forwarded to the Indiana Department of Child Services as well as the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith.

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