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Fort Wayne priest removed from public duties following "boundary violations"

Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend website

The Roman Catholic-Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend is stripping another priest of his public duties after allegations of boundary issues.

Rev. Eric Burgener will no longer serve as the parochial vicar of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Fort Wayne, following “credible allegations” of “serious boundary violations” with an adult woman, according to written statements from the Diocese and his parish.

He will also no longer be able to perform public duties, according to a statement issued by the Diocese. He is also prohibited from serving in his work as a hospital chaplain.

Burgener is the second priest to be disciplined by the Diocese in recent months for inappropriate conduct.

In September, Bishop Kevin Rhodes suspended Rev. David Huneck from his work as pastor at St. Paul of the Cross in Columbia City as well as chaplain at Bishop Dwenger High School. Huneck faced allegations that he used his position at Bishop Dwenger to involve himself with two teenage victims – one 17 years old, the other 19. They told police Huneck invited them to his church residence, gave them alcohol, became intoxicated, then groped and fondled them, according to court documents.

Huneck pleaded guilty to child seduction and sexual battery – two of the six counts against him – and was charged in Whitley County on Dec. 28. As part of the guilty plea, the other four counts were dismissed. He will be sentenced later this year.

In their statement announcing Burgener’s suspension, the diocese asked for “prayers for all involved.”

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered, and hosted Morning Edition for the past few years. In 2022, he was promoted to Content Director.