New allegations of misconduct against a former priest with the Archdiocese of Anchorage were made known Tuesday. The Archdiocese says Father J. Michael Hornick has faced three allegations of inappropriate physical relationships with adult women in the past. The two new cases involve minors.
The first allegation against Father Hornick came in 1997, but he was reinstated as a priest after being sent to a treatment facility. More complaints surfaced in 2009 and he was forced into retirement. In 2011 a third alleged victim came forward and the church took away his title as priest, a move Hornick fought and won.
The Archdiocese says it is working to find justice for two more women who may have been victimized by Hornick when they were minors.
The church isn’t using the term sexual abuse but “boundary violations,” such as inappropriate kissing, and hugging or touching of the leg. Because the cases go back 20 and 30 years the statute of limitations has run out for criminal charges against Hornick, but the church says it will try the man using cannon, or church law.
“The church has certainly been humbled by this. We’re trying as hard as we can to make the church the safest place for children for vulnerable adults,” said Father Thomas Brundage with the Anchorage Archdiocese.
The “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” or “SNAP” says Alaska has been a dumping ground for priests who have sexual problems for many years. The Archdiocese recently settled a case involving alleged sexual abuse by former Anchorage priest Frank Murphy. The Church and SNAP are urging any potential abuse victims to first contact police.
“In our experience, sexual predators don't stop with one child or one vulnerable adult woman, they go after as many women or as many men or young men that they can. It's who they are, it's what they do,” said John Shuster a Co-Director of SNAP in Washington.
If Father Hornick is found guilty of violating church law, only a Pope, yet to be named, can completely strip away his ties to the church.