One of two young women who reported sexual abuse by a local priest said Thursday this is not her first time being abused.
Rose Yolevich, 19, wrote the statement that was sent to media by the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. She was named in a probable cause affidavit on David Huneck’s alleged abuse, but the other victim, Mariella Warney, 17, was not named until she released a similar statement Monday.
Huneck, 31, was charged Oct. 8 with felony child seduction and sexual battery and four misdemeanor offenses: contributing to the delinquency of a minor, furnishing alcohol to a minor and two counts of battery. He was pastor at St. Paul of the Cross Catholic Church in Columbia City and a chaplain at a Fort Wayne Bishop Dwenger High School before the allegations and charges but has resigned.
Nicole Hahn of the diocese explained that the statement was sent on Yolevich’s behalf, and the diocese was supporting her as a victim by sending it.
Yolevich said she has been on a roller coaster of emotions — including feeling hurt, embarrassed, confused and sad to have lost a trusted role model. But most importantly, she said, she feels relieved to speak up.
"This is not the first time I have been in an abusive situation, but it is the first time I am breaking my silence, standing up for myself, and taking action," Yolevich said in the statement.
Yolevich said she has been vulnerable to "this type of situation" for as long as she can remember.
"Abuse is an issue that goes on every single day, and that is exactly why I am speaking up," she said. "I'm sharing my story for the little girl I once was who thought she was worthless, like something had to be wrong with her. I’ve slowly learned that is not the case."
Yolevich said she has felt distraught in the past, and she has even blamed herself.
"I didn’t know where to go, or what to do, so I kept it inside. I pushed it down in order to stay as far away from it as possible," she said. "It’s taken a considerable amount of time to voice this struggle, but now I know I’m not alone."
She encouraged anyone else who has experienced abuse to speak up because there are people out there who want to help when someone speaks up.
"So my message to you is please use your voice to speak out," Yolevich said. "There is help and healing, and every human is deserving of that."