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.