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

 

Three More Victims File Child Sex Abuse and Cover-Up Lawsuits – Former Bishop and Two known Predators Named

Survivors to Bishop: Stand with victims! Victims pass out postcards to neighbors, citizens – Group urges people to “pledge to stop donating” and “talk to family about abuse”.

What: Holding pictures of themselves at the age they were abused, victims of child sex abuse and their supporters will:

  • Announce three new child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuits against the Diocese of Honolulu, including a new lawsuit against a former bishop.

They will also:

  • Pass out “pledge postcards” in the neighborhood where some of the abuse occurred and outside of the Diocese headquarters.

The postcards will ask Honolulu Bishop Clarence Silva to stand with victims and remove accused offenders from ministry. Senders can tell the bishop that they choose to stop donating; they will reach out to other victims; and/or they will turn evidence over to the law enforcement.

When/Where: Wednesday, Oct 23

  • 10 am – In the neighborhood surrounding Damien Memorial School, 1401 Houghtailing St., Honolulu. (Please call 949-322-7434 for exact location)
  • 12:30 pm – in the plaza outside of the Honolulu Diocese headquarters, 1184 Bishop Street, Honolulu

Who: 

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 and institutional settings, including a California woman who is the group’s volunteer Western Regional Director.

Why: 

On Tuesday, three Hawaii men filed child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuits against the Diocese of Honolulu. Three priests, including a three-time accused former bishop, have been named as predators.

Damien Memorial High School

Damien Memorial High School

Two of the victims were abused at Damien Memorial School in Honolulu. One of the victims charges he was abused by notorious offender Fr. Gerald Funcheon. Funcheon made headlines in March when attorneys for victims released Funcheon’s sworn video deposition, where the priest admitted to molesting children at Damien Memorial School from 1983-1985

Fr. Gerald Funcheon

Fr. Gerald Funcheon

The other victim from Damien alleges he was abused by Fr. Larry Spellen in 1976. Spellen was removed from ministry in Salt Lake CIty in 1993, when then-Salt Lake Bishop Wiegand heard about accusations against Spellen from the 1980s and believed that they had merit. Bishop Wiegand referred the case to child and protective services. Spellen died in 2003.

The third victim charges that he was sexually abused by former Honolulu Bishop Joseph Ferrario while Ferrario was a priest at St. Anthony’s in Kailua. At least three victims have come forward to say that Ferrario abused them while the priest worked at St. Anthony’s or at Damien, where he was a teacher for a short time. 

Members of SNAP will be passing out pledge postcards in the hopes of empowering Hawaii’s citizens to tell current Bishop Clarence Silva that they “Stand with Victims.” The group fears the Catholics and the general population may feel that they are powerless to help victims and are unable to help stop the cover-up of child sexual abuse. The card, which people can keep, pass around, or mail back to the bishop, gives people tangible options to help victims and stop the cover-up of abuse.

SNAP also hopes that the cards will encourage people to reach out to other victims who still may be suffering in shame and silence. Many victims who were sexually abused in Hawaii only have until April 2014 to take advantage of a landmark law that allows victims to expose their predators and use the courts for justice, no matter when the abuse occurred.

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

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

 

Four More Boys Accuse Farmer of Abuse – Predator Adopted and Fostered Boys in CA and HI

Five of his “sons” now say that he molested them – Victims beg social services, public for help and information – Group runs ad begging “If you saw, suspected or suffered abuse, speak up”

SnapWhat:

Holding photos of themselves at the age they were abused, victims of child sex abuse will:

  • Announce four new child sex abuse and cover up lawsuits against a former Hakalau farmer, and
  • Urge social services officials to post and distribute information about Jay Ram, urging social workers to report any information or evidence they may have.

When:

Tuesday, October 22 at 11 am

Where:

Outside of the East Hawaii (Hilo) Office of Child and Family Service, 1045A Kilauea Avenue (at Mohouli) in Hilo (Social workers with the Office of Child and Family Service worked with some of the boys fostered and/or adopted by Jay Ram)

Who:

Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (SNAPnetwork.orgthe nation’s largest support group for men and women who were sexually abused in religious and institutional settings, including a California woman who is the group’s volunteer Western Regional Director

Why:

Four more victims of a former Hakalau farmer are filing lawsuits saying that he sexually abused them after fostering and/or adopting them.

The first victim charged Ram with abuse in March, saying that Ram used him and other boys as “forced child labor” to develop his land and kept them as virtual prisoners on his farm.

Ram, who is also known as Gary Winnick, is also accused of sexually abusing other boys that he fostered and adopted in California and Hawaii. He is believed to be India.

The lawsuits say that Ram used the boys as forced physical labor and that he also sexually abused them. The victims say that Ram threatened them to keep them silent, deprived them of food and refused to let them to engage in regular social activities with their peers out of fear that the boys would report to authorities. Although Ram has been investigated by the police in the past, the victims say that they were threatened with violence and abuse to keep them quiet. The boys were abused between the ages of 8 and 17 during the mid-to-late 1980s and early 1990s.

Ram was involved in agricultural research with the University of Hawaii, Hilo. http://hilo.hawaii.edu/academics/cafnrm/research/documents/11TheNeedforFurtherEvaluation-Ram73-81.pdf

Members of SNAP are reaching out to the social services community in Hilo hoping to finding enough evidence to help law enforcement reopen a criminal investigation against Ram. Many of the boys Ram fostered and adopted were under supervision of social workers in Hilo, who may have felt helpless at the time to do anything about allegations of abuse.

The victims in this case was able to come forward and expose Ram in the civil courts because of a landmark new state law that allows all Hawaii victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and seek justice in the courts, no matter when the abuse occurred.

The victims are represented by attorneys Mike Reck (714) 742-6593 mreck@andersonadvocates.com and Mark Gallagher (808) 779-5012 mgallagher@hawaiiantel.net. Copies of the lawsuit and the leaflet will be available at the event.

Victims to Leaflet Kailua Neighborhood Where Accused Priest Lived and Worked

At least six kids have charged cleric with abuse;  Neighbors may know witnesses, other victims; It is safe and right to talk about abuse, leaflet says; New law gives victims rights to expose abuse, get justice

What: Victims of sexual abuse and their supporters will leaflet a Kailua neighborhood where a six-time accused priest worked and lived. The leaflets will:

  • Alert neighbors about accusations and lawsuits against the Diocese of Honolulu and Fr. J. Michael Henry
  • Let people know that it is safe and right to talk about abuse
  • Ask people to come forward if they have information or are witnesses to abuse
  • Urge victims to report abuse to law enforcement and get help and healing.

Where: The neighborhood surrounding St. Anthony’s Parish in Kailua.

Saint Anthony

148 Makawao St  in Kailua, Leafleting will start at the SW corner of Kalaheo and Makawao

For exact location, call (949) 322-7434

When: Wednesday, June 12, 11 am to 1 pm

Who: Two to three men and women who are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), including a California woman who the group’s Western Regional Director.

Why: Victims of sexual abuse and their supporters are passing out leaflets in a Kailua neighborhood in the hopes of reaching out to victims of abuse and alerting the neighborhood about an accused predator priest..

At least six children have now come forward and charged that Fr. J. Michael Henry, a former Diocese of Honolulu priest and a member of the Maryknoll order, sexually abused them while the cleric worked at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Kailua. Henry lived at the parish from 1952 to 1974.

The victims are able to come forward and expose their abuse because of a landmark new law that allows victims to file lawsuits in civil court, no matter when their abuse occurred. The law expires in April 2014. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2012/07_08/2012_08_24_Sakahara_2Kailua.htm

SNAP is urging people to come forward before the civil window closes. They fear that there may be more victims of Henry suffering alone in shame and silence.

SNAP also believes that members of the parish and neighbors may know of valuable information that can help victims. They will be urging people to talk to their children, friends and neighbors about abuse and report anything they know to law enforcement, no matter the offender.

Copies of the leaflet will be available at the event.

http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2013/01_02/2013_02_22_Gutierrez_VictimsSue.htm

Contact:

IN HONOLULU Joelle Casteix, SNAP Western Regional Director, (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com

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

Unprecedented Video of Sex Abusing Priest to Be Revealed at Honolulu News Conference Wednesday

Accused predator priest tells his story in shocking video, Admits molesting dozens – unabated by his superiors, New lawsuits of two more victims to be announced

What:  At a news conference in Honolulu, attorneys for victims of child sexual abuse in Hawaii will present gripping video testimony of a priest and child sex predator. In the video he admits to abusing children; discusses why he wasn’t stopped; explains how he was transferred from assignment to assignment; and how efforts of parents to stop him were thwarted. The priest, who worked at Damien Memorial School—and other schools and military bases nationwide—has been accused of abuse by three Hawaii men and more than two dozen men on the mainland. (Note: Transcripts and DVDs of the video will be available at the news conference and also as a download.  A map showing his trail of abuse will also be available.)

Damien Memorial

At the news conference attorneys will also announce a new lawsuit brought by two additional sexual abuse victims of this priest in Honolulu.

When:  Wednesday, March 20, 2013 Noon (HST)

Where:  Garden Lanai Room, Ala Moana Hotel, 410 Atkinson Street Honolulu

Who: A parent of one of the priest’s victims, who reported abuse to Damien school officials.

Jeff Anderson:  Attorney Jeff Anderson is an internationally known St. Paul, Minnesota-based trial lawyer who is widely recognized as a pioneer in sexual abuse litigation and has earned a reputation as a tireless champion of civil rights for children and the under-privileged. Anderson has represented thousands of survivors of sexual abuse by authority figures and clergy.

Mark Gallagher:  Jeff Anderson & Associates’ Kailua-based affiliate Mark Gallagher has over 24 years experience as an attorney successfully seeking justice and compensation for those injured in Hawaii through no fault of their own. An experienced litigator in Hawaii state courts on Oahu, the Big Island, Kauai and Maui, Mark has also practiced in the United States federal courts system.

Joelle Casteix:  A survivor of childhood sexual abuse in Southern California, Joelle is a survivor advocate and is currently volunteer Western Regional Director of Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Contact:  Mark F. Gallagher   808.535.1500

Contact:  Attorney Jeff Anderson   888.567.5557 Mobile 612.817.8665

 

 

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

Two Honolulu Men File New Clergy Sex Abuse Suit

Two Honolulu men have filed new clergy sex abuse lawsuits.  They accuse a former Damien Catholic teacher of sexual abuse.  He has allegedly molested at least 12 kids in five states and a former Damien principal has also been named as predator.   A new Hawaii state law lets victims expose abusers & protect kids.

What:

Holding signs and photos of themselves when they were abused, abuse victims and their supporters will disclose a new child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit against the Honolulu Catholic diocese and a convicted predator cleric. The suit charges that a Catholic brother:

– Sexually abused two Damien Memorial School students,

– Was transferred from school to school because of abuse allegations,

– Was removed from Damien for abuse allegations, but parents and students were never informed.

They will also:

– Discuss a recent child sex abuse accusation against a former Damien principal,

– Urge victims and witnesses to report to abuse to law enforcement, not church officials, and

– Show how a landmark new Hawaii law is helping to warn parents about predators.

Where:

Outside of Damien Memorial School, 1401 Houghtailing Street (at School Street) in Honolulu

When:

Thursday, November 8 at 11:00 am

Who:

Two to three victims of child sex abuse and their supporters who are members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), including a California woman who is the group’s Western Regional Director and a former priest who is now one of the nation’s leading experts on the Catholic clergy sex abuse crisis.

Why:

This week, two former Damien Memorial students filed a new child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit against the Honolulu Catholic Diocese and Br. Robert Brouillette, an Irish Christian Brother and former teacher at the school.

Brother Robert Brouillette

Both men, who are still Oahu residents, charge that Brouillette sexually abused them while both were young students at the school. One victim was abused in 1984 and the other was abused in 1986. They were able to come forward and expose Brouillette because of a landmark new Hawaii law that allows victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and seek justice in the courts, no matter when the abuse occurred. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/07/opinion/more-time-for-justice.html?_r=0.

Separate from the lawsuit, the Irish Christian Brothers, a New York-based Catholic religious order that runs Damien, declared bankruptcy in 2011 to avoid costly and public child sex abuse civil trials. http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/16904070/group-says-child-predators-worked-at-catholic-school. Both victims also filed claims against Brouillette in the bankruptcy. According to attorneys, sixteen victims from Damien have come forward as a result.

Brouillette has been accused of sexual abuse by at least a dozen victims in IL, CA, HI, AZ and MO. In 2000, he was convicted of possession of child pornography after being arrested in an internet child molestation sting. His last known address was in Missouri. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news/1999_12_04_Presecky_CatholicBrother.htm

This is just the latest in a string of scandals at Damien Memorial School. Last week, a former Damien principal was forced to step down from his job in Seattle due to allegations of abuse. Br. Karl Walczak, Damien principal from 1987-1999, was accused of abuse while he was a teacher at an Irish Christian Brother school in Chicago. The alleged victim filed a claim in July, but Irish Christian Brother and Archdiocese officials did not disclose the allegations until Halloween. SNAP and parents were outraged at the delay in disclosure.
http://www.komonews.com/news/local/ODea-High-School-principal-resigns-amid-sex-abuse-allegations-176692501.html?tab=video&c=y. A lawsuit against former Damien chaplain Fr. Gerald Funcheon was filed in May. http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/561462/Lawsuit-claims-abuse-by-former-Honolulu-priest.html?nav=5031.

SNAP is urging all victims at the school to come forward and get help while they have civil rights under Hawaii’s new window legislation. The two-year law, sponsored by Senator Maile Shimabukuro, expires in 2014.

The victims are represented by Attorneys Mike Reck (714) 742-6593 and Mark Gallagher (808) 779-5012. Copies of the lawsuit will be available at the event.

Contact:

Joelle Casteix (IN HONOLULU), SNAP Western Regional Director, (949) 322-7434, jcasteix@gmail.com

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

David Clohessy of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Executive Director, (314) 566-9790, snapclohessy@aol.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.

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.