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Tuesday, September 02, 2014         

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Former Damien chaplain sued over sexual abuse allegations

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

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Attorneys have filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man alleging sexual abuse by a priest at a Hono­lulu all-boys Catholic school in the 1980s.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Oahu Circuit Court, claims the then-13-year-old boy was a freshman when he was abused during an overnight retreat by the Rev. Gerald Funcheon, a former chaplain and teacher at Damien Memorial School.

The lawsuit doesn't name the plaintiff, now an adult living in Hono­lulu.

This is the first lawsuit under a new Hawaii law providing a two-year window for claims of sexual abuse against minors to be made, even if the statute of limitations has lapsed, said Joelle Casteix, western regional director for Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. The two-year window began April 24, when Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed it into law.

"It takes victims sometimes decades to come forward," Casteix said.

Damien President Bernard Ho said Friday the lawsuit will be reviewed by legal counsel. A spokes­man for the Diocese of Hono­lulu would not comment on pending litigation. Funcheon could not be located for comment. His last known address was a church-run facility in Missouri, Casteix said.

The lawsuit claims Funcheon was allowed "unsupervised and unlimited access to children at Damien" despite reports made to his order, Crosier Fathers and Brothers Province Inc., about his inappropriate sexual conduct toward minors. "Before plaintiff was sexually abused, the Crosiers had serious concerns about Funcheon's interactions with children, Funcheon's sexuality and Funcheon's abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs," the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.






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