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Hawaii woman sues Salvation Army, claims sex abuse

By Star-Advertiser staff

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 4:39 p.m. HST, May 23, 2013

A 65-year-old Pearl City woman has filed a lawsuit alleging that she was sexually molested in 1959 when she was about 11 by a Salvation Army minister who died last year.

The Circuit Court lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Nancy Spencer against the estate of Major Richard Tenkan Taba and the Salvation Army.

It was filed under a state law adopted last year that permits the filing of lawsuits alleging sex assaults of children regardless of how long ago the alleged assaults occurred.

A Salvation Army official said the organization takes abuse allegations seriously and is doing its “best to investigate” even though potential witnesses have died.

Kathy Lovin of the Salvation Army’s western division public affairs and communications office said if they receive allegations of sexual misconduct, they quickly remove the accused from duty and cooperate with authorities.

The suit alleges Spencer was sexually abused by Taba at least three times at his Salvation Army office in Aiea.

The suit said Spencer told her mother, who notified the police and the Salvation Army, but Taba was transferred to a different Salvation Army location on Maui.

The suit asks for an unspecified amount of money and  nonmonetary relief.

Charles McKay, one of lawyers representing Spencer, applauded the law that permits the filing of the sex abuse lawsuits until April next year.

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