Tomorrow – Former Top Honolulu Catholic Bishop to be Accused of Abuse and Sex Assault

Former Top Catholic official accused of abuse, Victim speaks publicly for the first time. He says he was 7 when ex-Honolulu bishop molested him, New lawsuit is one of more than two dozen filed since 2012

Joseph Ferrario

Joseph Ferrario

WHAT:

Holding signs and childhood photos at a news conference, a third alleged child sexual abuse victim of a now-deceased Honolulu Catholic bishop will speak publicly about his abuse for the first time. He’ll discuss why he’s filing a civil abuse and cover up lawsuit, and

  • how he tried to warn neighbors and reach out to other survivors,
  • how church officials flew to his home and tried to silence him, and
  • how he hopes to encourage other survivors to reach out, and get help.

WHEN:

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 11 am

WHERE:

7 Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 400 in Honolulu

WHO:

The alleged victim and another abuse victim who is a leader of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for men and women sexually abused as children in religious and institutional settings.

WHY:

A third alleged victim of a former Honolulu Bishop Honolulu Catholic Bishop Joseph Ferrario is filing a lawsuit and coming forward publicly saying that the cleric sexually abused him.

The man, who now lives in Las Vegas, was a seven-year-old student at Kailua’s St. Anthony’s grade school in 1975 when, he says, then Fr. Ferrario began to groom and sexually molest him during and after school hours. Ferrario allegedly assaulted the boy in rooms on church property for roughly three years.

The alleged victim is the third man to come forward and file a lawsuit accusing Ferrario of abuse. In 2012, former St. Anthony’s parishioner Mark Pinkosh came forward and accused Ferrario and Kailua priest Joseph Henry. Ferrario was first sued for child sex crimes in 1993 by a now-deceased Honolulu man David Figueroa.

All three boys were allegedly molested during roughly the same time period at St. Anthony’s.

Copies of the lawsuit and photos will be available at the event.

The victims are represented by attorneys Mike Reck (714) 742-6593, mreck@andersonadvocates.comand Mark Gallagher (808) 779-5012, mgallagher@hawaiiantel.net

 

Victims of Sexual Abuse Blast Local High School

Victims of sexual abuse are blasting a Honolulu high school for publicizing a scholarship named after a three-time accused predator priest.

In a letter to the president and board of directors of Maryknoll High School, members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org) say that a scholarship honoring accused predator priest Fr. James A. Jackson “hurts victims and discourages them from speaking up, thus endangering more kids.”

They are urging that the scholarship be dissolved.

Father James Scholarship

The endowed scholarship, advertised on the school’s website is named after Fr. Jackson, a Maryknoll missionary priest. The scholarship goes to students who “demonstrat[e] a willingness to contributed to the continued excellence of the Maryknoll family.”

In 2002, Fr. Jackson was accused of abusing three former students. At the time of the alleged crimes, Fr. Jackson was working as a missionary priest on the Big Island. He is now deceased.  At least one of Fr. Jackson’s victims came forward publicly at that time to warn the community of the threat Fr. Jackson posed.

SNAP believes that this scholarship deters victims from Maryknoll or any school in Honolulu from reporting predators.

“You may say that the scholarship is a ‘simple oversight,’ but that is little more than a cheap excuse.” the letter says. “There is no room for ‘simple oversight’ when it comes to the safety of your students, the prosecution of predators and healing of children who have been horribly hurt by abuse.”

The group wants the school to immediately dissolve or re-name the scholarship and apologize to Fr. Jackson’s alleged victims and the school’s alums. SNAP is also inviting school officials to host a “listening session” with victims of child sex abuse, so that the Maryknoll community can “better understand the harm that abuse causes to victims and communities and the chilling messages such insensitive actions send to other abuse victims.”

“When an institution praises a credibly accused serial predator, it’s basically saying that adult criminals will be believed and kids will not be,” said Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director. “It encourages silence about child sexual abuse, which leads to more abuse, and it rubs salt into the wounds of victims, which leads to more pain.”

The group is also encouraging anyone who was abused, or who has seen or witnessed abuse, to come forward and report to law enforcement. A new Hawaii law allows child sex abuse victims to use the court system and expose their predator no matter when the abuse occurred. The law can help many victims of child sex abuse in Hawaii get justice and accountability, the group says. Similar laws in California and Delaware exposed more than 250 previously unknown child sex predators and helped law enforcement put at least five predators behind bars.

The law has already exposed ten predator clerics who worked at Honolulu’s Damien Memorial School.

OFFICIAL LETTER:

January 17, 2013

Perry Martin

Maryknoll School

Office of the President

1526 Alexander St.

Honolulu, HI 96822

president@maryknollschool.org

development@maryknollschool.org

fax: 808 952-7201

cc: Office of Development, Board of Directors

Dear Mr. Martin and members of the Board of Directors;

We are victims of sexual abuse who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for men and women who were sexually abused in religious or institutional settings. We are writing you today because we are shocked and disturbed to discover that you support and publicize a student scholarship named after three-time accused predator, Fr. James A. Jackson. http://www.maryknollschool.org/page.aspx?pid=521

In case you do not know, Fr. Jackson has been accused of child sexual abuse by three children from when Jackson was a priest working on the Big Island. One of those victims even came forward publicly to warn the community about Jackson and the alleged abuse. The only reason Jackson was not prosecuted was due to the statute of limitations, not the merits of the victims’ accusations.

Having any honor for Jackson is implying that Maryknoll leadership honors silence when it comes to child sexual abuse. You are also saying that you admire and respect accused predators more than the brave victims who came forward and reported the crimes against them to law enforcement.

We hope you agree that this is a dangerous situation that must be immediately fixed. That is why we ask that you do the following:

  • Immediately dissolve the Jackson scholarship,
  • Inform the Maryknoll community of the accusations against Jackson,
  • Publicly apologize to the Maryknoll community and victims of sexual abuse,
  • Reach out other potential victims of Jackson or any predator who may have worked at Maryknoll School, and
  • Host a ‘listening session’ with victims of child sex abuse so that members of the Maryknoll community can learn about the effect of abuse and abuse prevention.

You may say that the scholarship is a ‘simple oversight,’ but that is little more than a cheap excuse. There is no room for ‘simple oversight’ when it comes to the safety of your students, the prosecution of predators and healing of children who have been horribly hurt by abuse.

We look forward to your immediate response to this matter and are more than willing to help you schedule a listening session.

Sincerely,

Joelle Casteix

SNAP Western Regional Director

jcasteix@gmail.com

Barb Dorris

SNAP Outreach Director

snapdorris@gmail.com

Hilo Priest Accused of Child Sex Crimes Still Travels and Works with Youngsters Today

Holding signs and photos of themselves when they were abused, child sex abuse victims will announce that a long-time Hilo Catholic priest, Fr. George DeCosta, has been accused of molesting two boys, but continues to work for a church group that teaches music to teenagers.

They will also beg Honolulu Bishop Clarence Silva to: disclose why the priest was forced to retire, insist that the music group oust him immediately, personally visit every parish, school and facility where he worked reaching out to others he may have hurt.

Where: Outside of Malia Puka O Kalani Church, 326 Desha Ave in Hilo

Malia Puka O Kalani Church

When: Tuesday, August 21, at 11 am

Who:

One to two members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for men and women sexually abused as children in religious and institutional organizations, including a California woman who is the group’s Western Regional Director

FR. GEORGE DECOSTA is a retired priest of the Diocese of Honolulu, Hawaii

Why:

Last month, two victims of child sexual abuse filed legal claims in New York state charging they were sexually abused by a long-time Hilo priest, Fr. George DeCosta.   Now, DeCosta is the pastor of the Hale Lokahi community in Hilo. He also works with Music Ministry Alive, a MN-based group that trains young people to be liturgical music leaders http://www.musicministryalive.com/mma2012/meettheteam.html.

The victims are coming forward as a part of the recent bankruptcy of the Irish Christian Brothers, the Catholic religious order that runs Honolulu’s Damien Memorial School, where DeCosta was a teacher. http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/16904070/group-says-child-predators-worked-at-catholic-school

Both victims were young students at Damien in the late 1960s, when DeCosta worked as a religion teacher and director of the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) at the school. At least one of the victims charges that DeCosta molested him at an Oahu CYO camp.

At the time of the alleged abuse, DeCosta was also assigned to St. Theresa’s parish in Honolulu, a parish with a school.

In 1973, DeCosta was transferred to St. Mary Gate of Heaven—now Malia Puka’O Kalani—Parish in Hilo. He stayed there until 2002, when Honolulu Bishop Francis DiLorenzo mysteriously forced him to retire at age 65. That was the year that the clergy sex abuse and cover up crisis attracted national headlines. Bishops pledged then to be “open” about child sex cases and oust predators from ministry.

Currently, DeCosta is a member of the leadership team of Music Ministry Alive, a MN-based group that trains young people to serve as liturgical music leaders in the Catholic church. http://www.musicministryalive.com/mma2012/meettheteam.html. He is also the founder of the Big Island Learning and Arts Community (BILAC).

SNAP believes that there may be more victims in Hilo and Honolulu and that church officials must do more to reach out to survivors. They want Honolulu Bishop Silva to make sure DeCosta is ousted from his current positions and personally visit all of the churches, schools and communities where DeCosta has worked, reaching out to potential victims. They also want Silva to release DeCosta’s secret personnel file and publicly disclose the full reason DeCosta was forced to retire.

The victims asked SNAP to speak out on their behalf, to make sure that what happened to them does not happen to other children.

Both victims also have rights under Hawaii’s new civil window law that gives victims of child sexual abuse a chance to seek justice in the courts no matter when they were abused.  http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/18627821/lawsuit-claims-abuse-by-former-honolulu-priest.

Both victims are represented by California attorney Michael Reck (714) 742-6593.