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Former Honolulu High School PRINCIPAL Accused of Sex Abuse in Legal Claim

At least five other school employees have been accused, Seattle school officials quietly removed cleric in August, Religious order filed bankruptcy after more than 200 victims came forward, Now, more than 400 say they were abused by Christian Brothers, At least 12 came from Damien Memorial School.

A man who says he was sexually abused by the former principal of a Honolulu high school has filed a sex abuse and cover-up claim in the New York courts.  http://www.king5.com/news/ODea-High-school-principal-resigns-sexual-abuse-allegations-176691111.html

Karl Walczak

The suit charges that the victim, known as John Doe, was sexually abused by Damien Memorial School former principal Br. Karl Walczak in 1971 at Brother Rice High School in Chicago. At the time, Walczak was a teacher at the school. http://www.komonews.com/news/local/ODea-High-School-principal-resigns-amid-sex-abuse-allegations-176692501.html

Walczak is a member of the Irish Christian Brothers, a New York State-based religious order that runs Brother Rice High School and more than a dozen other schools across the country. Walczak was principal at Damien Memorial School from 1987 to 1999.

Walczak is currently the principal of O’Dea High School in Seattle http://www.odea.org/academics/faculty-staff-bios/administrative-team. He was quietly put on leave in August when the lawsuit was filed. In a letter to parents, school officials said that Walczak was “fighting a claim” in the Christian Brothers bankruptcy, but refused to state that he had been accused of sexual abuse in the New York courts. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2012/07_08/2012_08_10_ODeaHighSchool_LETTERFrom.htm

Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), were appalled to learn that the Christian Brothers had keep quiet about the allegation.

“Parents and students in Hawaii have been duped yet again,” said Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, California, SNAP Western Regional Director. “A brave victim has come forward to the courts to expose the man who abused him. Yet, the Christian Brothers have—at every turn—kept quiet about allegations, misled parents and put more kids at risk because they refuse to come clean about predators in their employ.”

In light of this latest allegation, the groups wants Damien Memorial and diocese officials officials to immediately alert parents, students and alumni about the allegations. “There may be a victim suffering at the school right now,” Casteix said. “Victims need to know that it is safe to come forward and report abuse, because that is the only way to put predators behind bars.”

More than 12 victims from Damien High School have come forward and filed claims. In addition, at least five other known, admitted or arrested predators who worked at the school have been exposed. http://www.staradvertiser.com/newspremium/20120824_Clergy_child_sex_abuse_allegations_arise.html?id=167294085&id=167294085&c=n

Last year, the Irish Christian Brothers declared bankruptcy in light of more than 50 child sex abuse lawsuits in the United States and more than 200 in Canada. http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Mounting-sexual-abuse-claims-causes-US-Christian-Brothers-to-file-for-bankruptcy–121020724.html. The order has also been rocked by sex abuse scandals in Ireland.

In January, the New York Bankruptcy Court set a “bar date” of August 1, 2012, for all victims of Irish Brother predators to expose their abusers in court. More than 400 victims have come forward and filed claims.

According to O’Dea High School. Walczak is currently living in New York. He has also worked in schools in Illinois and California.

The attorney for John Doe is Mike Reck of New York, (714) 742-6593, mreck@andersonadvocates.com.

Seattle press articles:

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/ODea-High-School-principal-resigns-amid-sex-abuse-allegations-176692501.html

http://www.king5.com/news/ODea-High-school-principal-resigns-sexual-abuse-allegations-176691111.html

http://www.nwcn.com/news/washington?fId=176691111&fPath=/home&fDomain=10212

http://theworthyadversary.com/1554-breaking-seattle-principal-removed-for-abuse-parents-not-informed

http://news.silobreaker.com/odea-high-school-principal-resigns-amid-sexual-abuse-allegations-5_2266086944012238907

http://www.q13fox.com/news/kcpq-odea-high-school-principal-resigns-amid-allegations-of-sexual-abuse-20121031,0,2277878.story

Contact:

Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, SNAP Western Regional Director, (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com

John Schuster of Seattle, WA, SNAP Seattle Leader, 360-551-9982, js98367@hotmail.com

Barb Dorris of St. Louis MO, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503-0003, snapdorris@gmail.com

First of What May Be Dozens of Child Sex Abuse and Cover Up Lawsuits Filed Under New Unusual Hawaii Law

The first of what may be dozens of child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits was filed yesterday under an unusual new Hawaii law.

That measure lets adults who were molested as kids take legal action even decades after the violations took place.

Fr. Gerald Funcheon

An Oahu resident and former Damien Memorial High School student sued the Diocese of Honolulu charging that he was sexually assaulted as a child by Fr. Gerald Funcheon, a Crosier priest and former Damien chaplain in 1983 and 1984. The alleged crimes happened on an overnight retreat with the cleric on the Oahu eastern shore when the victim was 13 years old.

According to public documents and the lawsuit, church officials already knew that Funcheon was abusing prescription drugs and alcohol and had allegations of inappropriate behavior with children well before he was sent to Damien. http://www.abusedinhawaii.com/documents%5CFuncheon_partial.pdf

“This is a classic case of ‘priest-dumping,'” said Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, Western Regional Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org), the nation’s largest support group for men and women who have been abused in religious and institutional settings. “Church officials knew that Funcheon was a predator, but still gave him complete access to vulnerable kids. They also made sure that Funcheon was sent far away, to escape prosecution and deny his victims justice. You can’t get much further away from mainland law enforcement than Hawaii.”

The victim first came forward as a part of the Irish Christian Brothers bankruptcy. The bankruptcy allowed sex abuse victims at all Irish Christian Brothers schools—including Damien Memorial—until August 1, 2012 to come forward and expose their abusers.  At least five molesting clerics worked at the school. http://www.k5thehometeam.com/story/16904070/group-says-child-predators-worked-at-catholic-school?clienttype=mobile

“We never would have learned about Funcheon and other child molesters who worked at Damien if brave victims had not come forward under the bankruptcy and the civil window,” Casteix said. “The diocese didn’t warn parents about the gross risk and did nothing to protect kids.”

Two Funcheon victims have come forward from Palma School in Salinas, CA, where Funcheon was immediately sent after allegations came forward at Damien. Both have filed lawsuits against the Crosiers. http://www.montereyherald.com/ci_20611521/palma-alumnus-alleges-abuse-reaches-out-other-possible?source=most_viewed.  More than a dozen victims from across the country have alleged that Funcheon sexually abused them.http://bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbylastName-F.html

According to Funcheon’s personnel file, the priest was removed and sent to California when a parent alleged that Funcheon was abusing kids at Damien. According to the documents, the cleric also worked in numerous Honolulu-area parishes during the weekends. The documents may be viewed here: http://www.abusedinhawaii.com/documents%5CFuncheon_partial.pdf

“This cover-up and reckless disregard for child safety should be a wake-up call to parents across Hawaii,” Casteix said. “Instead of calling the cops and getting help for the kids who were hurt, officials at Damien and the Honolulu Diocese silenced victims and spirited Funcheon out of town. That kind of cover-up is criminal.  We hope this lawsuit shines a bright light on sneaky, back-handed tactics that protected predators instead of kids.”

Funcheon’s last known address was a church-run facility in Missouri, where he apparently lived with Robert Brouillette, an Irish Christian Brother and former Damien teacher who was convicted of child pornography in 2000. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/1999_12_04_Presecky_CatholicBrother.htm

“Our experience has shown us time and time again that although church officials claim that these facilities are ‘secure’ and ‘monitored,’ that’s just not true,” said Barb Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP’s Outreach Director.  “Funcheon may be just as free to hurt children now as he was in Hawaii, California and the other states where he abused kids.”

Casteix also says that the civil window is an anti-crime measure that will help keep kids safe right now. “Soon, we will learn what the diocese knew and when they knew it. We also hope that younger victims will find the strength to come forward and report, so that law enforcement can make arrests and get convictions.”

In California and Delaware, civil window laws exposed hundreds of predators and help law enforcement put predators behind bars. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2007/11_12/2007_12_04_Spano_ExPriest.htm

The victim is represented by Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson (651) 227-9990, jeff@andersonadvocates.com; and California attorney Mike Reck (714) 742-6593, mreck@andersonadvocates.com. Copies of the lawsuit are available on the website  http://www.abusedinhawaii.com/Hawaii_Abuse_News.aspx

The new law, Act 068, signed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie on April 24, 2012 gives victims of child sex abuse a two-year “window” to use the civil courts to expose their perpetrators and those who may have ignored or concealed the crimes.

The lawsuit was filed in the First Circuit Court, State of Hawaii, and seeks unspecified damages.