3 accused priests named in new files served Palatine parish

  • Three priests who served at St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic Church in Palatine were among the 36 named Thursday in documents released Thursday detailing sex abuse claims against members of the clergy.

      Three priests who served at St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic Church in Palatine were among the 36 named Thursday in documents released Thursday detailing sex abuse claims against members of the clergy. Joe Lewnard | Staff Photographer

  • Walter Huppenbauer

      Walter Huppenbauer Gilbert Boucher | Staff Photographer, 1986

 
 
Updated 11/6/2014 11:27 PM

St. Thomas of Villanova Catholic Church in Palatine was home from 1984 to 1994 to three priests against whom allegations of sexually abusing children were revealed in archdiocese documents Thursday.

Details of the accusations against the three men -- who have since died or been removed from ministry -- were revealed in the thousands of documents released Thursday by the Archdiocese of Chicago. In each case, the alleged abuses happened before the priests worked at the Palatine parish.

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Walter Edward Huppenbauer served as St. Thomas' pastor from 1984 to 1994; Daniel Peter Buck served as associate pastor from 1984 to 1989; and David Francis Braun, now deceased, served as associate pastor from 1985 to 1990.

Walter Edward Huppenbauer

Of the former clergymen, Huppenbauer was the only one to be accused while serving the Palatine church. In 1992, a woman called archdiocese officials and reported that Huppenbauer had abused her from 1962 to 1964 at St. Hilary's in Chicago, according to the documents.

A few months later, church officials asked Huppenbauer to resign from St. Thomas. He relented in 1994.

Parishioners were not told Huppenbauer had been asked to resign because of sex misconduct allegations. In a 2002 letter to parishioners, an archdiocese official said that was kept from the public because his accuser had remained anonymous.

Huppenbauer was allowed to choose his next assignment, records show. After leaving St. Thomas, he served as chaplain at Little Sisters of the Poor of Palatine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

His accuser ultimately revealed her identity to church officials and elaborated on Huppenbauer's alleged abuses, which included kissing and fondling her in the rectory at St. Hilary's and in his car.

According to the records, another accuser came forward in 2004. Huppenbauer denied the allegations, saying the matter was a "he said, he said" situation.

In 2010, Huppenbauer resigned from the priesthood, writing in a letter to Cardinal Francis George that it was in the best interests of all concerned.

Daniel Peter Buck

Buck was transferred to St. Thomas Villanova in 1984, just months after family members of the first of four children to accuse him came forward.

The mother of a 15-year-old girl wrote a letter to church officials about an inappropriate relationship she said Buck had with the girl. According to archdiocese records, Buck was barred from interacting with minors at St. Thomas as a result.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

When the girl, by then a married 25-year-old woman, learned that Buck later would be assigned to her family's home parish, she reported to archdiocese officials more details of her relationship with the priest, document show. According to her statements, the relationship began when she was 11 and included back rubs, touching breasts and fondling genitals.

Despite the accusations, the woman told church officials she considered Buck a friend and wanted him to get help.

The archdiocese removed Buck from public ministry in 2002. A year later, two sisters came forward to allege Buck had fondled them starting about 1972 when they were in fourth and fifth grade and continued until they were in seventh and eighth grade at St. Luke Parish in River Forest.

In 2013, Buck signed a 17-page document detailing the accusations against him, but next to his signature he wrote "signed under duress." Documents indicate he is living today in an archdiocese retreat house with five other priests removed from the ministry for sexual misconduct.

David Francis Braun

Braun was accused of abusing six minors during his 35-year church career, but by his own admission the number may be much higher.

Documents released Thursday show that in 1963 Braun "attempted immorality" on a 14-year-old hitchhiker. The boy managed to get out of Braun's car, memorize his license plate and run home. The boy's father and police agreed not to press charges if the church handled the matter.

Days later, documents show, Braun confided in a church official that he was "extremely active" sexually with minors.

"He could not count the occasions of the sins," the document reads. "His usual procedure is to drive and pick up young boys of high school age."

Braun was treated for alcohol abuse and returned to the ministry four months later as an assistant pastor at St. Teresa of Avila in Chicago.

The first of his six accusers came forward in 1992, telling church authorities Braun had molested him at Sacred Heart in Chicago in 1960, when he was 13 years old.

A brother and sister spoke up in 1994, saying Braun had fondled her and made her perform oral sex and tried to get into the boy's sleeping bag.

In 1995, a man told church officials Braun fondled him in the 1960s when he was 10 years old. In 2002, another man came forward and said Braun abused him in the early 1980s when he was 22 years old. In 2008, another man wrote to the church saying Braun molested him at Sacred Heart in 1954, when he was 12 years old.

Braun died in 2007.

A fourth accused priest, Marion Joseph Snieg, served as a visiting priest at St. Thomas Villanova from 1993 until 2002. Documents released by the archdiocese earlier in the year show that four people accused him of sexual abuse before he served at St. Thomas. Snieg died in 2005.

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