3 lawsuits claim isle children sexually abused by priests | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News

3 lawsuits claim isle children sexually abused by priests

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Attorney Mark Gallagher spoke at a news conference Wednesday outside Hawaii’s First Circuit Court about three lawsuits he filed accusing Catholic priests in the Diocese of Honolulu of sexual abuse.

Three additional lawsuits were filed Wednesday accusing Catholic priests in the Diocese of Honolulu of sexual abuse.

The three suits allege that priests abused children and teens throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The Diocese of Honolulu is a defendant in all three suits, which say the diocese knew or should have known about the abuse. The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers were also named as a defendant in two of the cases.

The Very Rev. Gary Secor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu said the organization hadn’t yet reviewed the lawsuits, filed Wednesday by attorney Mark Gallagher and Jeff Anderson &Associates on behalf of three unidentified plaintiffs.

“However, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu remains committed to treating victims of sexual abuse with compassion and respect, with the goal of providing just resolution,” Secor said.

The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

More than 40 lawsuits have been brought against the Diocese of Honolulu in recent years.

The lawsuits filed Wednesday accuse both religious organizations of “gross negligence” and misrepresenting the fact that the priests had molested children in the past.

The lawsuits say the sexual exploitation of the boys speaks to a larger pattern of abuse that occurred for several years. The plaintiffs suffered greater emotional harm and didn’t seek help partly because the diocese failed to protect them, the suits said.

The lawsuits are being filed before an April 24 deadline for victims to bring charges against abusers even if the statute of limitations expired. Hawaii created the window in 2012, and extended it for two more years in 2014 after dozens of child sex abuse lawsuits were filed in the state.

“These cases can deter more cover-ups and bring sorely needed comfort and help to victims who have often struggled for decades with the debilitating effects of abuse,” said David Clohessy, executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

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  • It’s time for the Catholic church to ordain married men and women. Although being married does not preclude being a sexual predator, at least the church will have a broader pool from which to select candidates to the priesthood, allowing elimination of more questionable candidates.

    • Married folk do not have the singular focus needed to serve effectively – – their attention, efforts and devotion would necessarily be drawn primarily to the well being of their spouses whom they vowed to love, honor and respect ’til death us do part’.

    • Whs1966, allowing priests to marry will solve absolutely nothing! These law suits have to do with covering up the offenses at an institutional level, not the actual abuse. There are more cases of married fathers abusing their own children then there ever was priestly abuse! I guess we should not allow men to marry? That is where your logic is taking us….

    • Notice how those intent on attacking the Church must gingerly avoid one glaring fact: “The lawsuits say the sexual exploitation of the boys speaks to a larger pattern of abuse that occurred for several years”

      In order to draw public attention from homosexual predators lusting for the taste of forbidden fruit by masquerading as priests (and in the process violating the vows they took) it is necessary to stage elaborate diversions – – and oh how carefully – – lest the public at large comprehened the vile nature of these f r e a k s of nature who perpetrated these hideous crimes against innocent young boys.

  • with all due respect and sympathy to actual victims, how does the “system” prevent people from falsely accusing a dead priest, and then collecting damages? are they subjected to polygraphs or anything?

  • The LA Times put out an article about – “After sexually abusing children for decades, Catholic brother lives under the radar in Hawaii”.

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-seattle-serial-molester-20160212-story.html

    Catholic Priests fall under a special set of rules unlike ordinary citizens. If we were convicted of those crimes we’d go to jail and have to register as a ‘sexual predator’.

    Let’s get our Honolulu ‘finest’ lawmakers to address that.

    • Priests most emphatically do NOT “fall under a special set of rules unlike ordinary citizens”

      If a priest commits a crime he can – – and should be – – subjected to arrest, indictment, trial and if found guilty, punished according to law.

      • Did you read the article ?

        “But like many caught up in the historic scandal, Courtney was never prosecuted and didn’t spend a day in jail.”

        I’m hoping the SA can investigate this case more thoroughly to see if in fact Brother Courtney is still living here in Hawaii.

        • The fact is that there are people who commit crimes and get away with it, but that in itself is no justification to believe that Priests enjoy any degree of immunity. They are subject to the same laws as the rest of us.

  • I distanced myself from the Catholic church over 30 years ago. I was baptized, received Holy Communion, and Confirmation with the Catholic church. I was also an altar boy in the 5th and 6th grade. When I wanted to be married in the Catholic church they said I could not because my wife to be was not a Catholic. With all the problems the church has over the years, such as priests committing adultery, DUI’s, sexual abuse, etc., GOOD RIDDANCE.

  • Sexual abuse and pedophilia are wrong in any setting and should be investigated and punished to the full extent of the law. However, it’s difficult to understand how or why abuse that occurred in the 1950s and 1960s are only now being brought to light by the victims. Yes, there can be mental blocking, etc. However, there can also be mental confusion over so many decades. It will be interesting to see what if any concrete evidence is presented. Are the alleged perpetrators still alive and able to defend themselves?

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