For immediate release: Monday, May 20
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com)
These six brave men have, despite their horrific pain, struggled to expose corruption by some of the top Jesuits in the US. More truth about awful church crimes and cover ups is being revealed and for that, Catholics should be grateful.
This isn’t just another settlement. It’s a settlement involving America’s most prominent child molesting cleric (a high profile priest who was Mother Teresa’s confessor) and Catholicism’s most elite religious order (the Jesuits). It’s a settlement that, by its size alone, shows that Catholic officials are terrified of having to testify in open court about their complicity in McGuire’s egregious child sex crimes. And it’s a settlement that should make parents pause before sending their youngsters to Jesuit schools.
I know some of McGuire’s victims. They have been deeply traumatized. But they have put their own misery aside in the effort to protect kids from him and warn parents about him. Because of McGuire’s criminal conviction and this settlement, they have largely succeeded, against long odds. We in SNAP are deeply appreciative of their concern for children and their commitment to justice.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact – David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, SNAPclohessy@aol.com), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, SNAPblaine@gmail.com), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, firstname.lastname@example.org), Joelle Casteix (949-322-7434, email@example.com), Judy Jones 636-433-2511, firstname.lastname@example.org)
It’s time for a new round of HEALTHY LIVING. (cue game show intro music!)
It’s been a rough year for me health-wise, and all of the good strides I made last summer died in the exhaustion of a 3-month bout of shingles. Then there were the sinus infections. Followed by the flu. Basically, it sucked, and I was too tired to do the things that I needed to do to maintain.
But the time for excuses is OVER. And since I’m posting here (for the 3 people who read this blog), I am forcing myself to be accountable in cyberspace.
So here’s the plan:
Dump Extraneous Stress! DONE!
I had to put my MBA aside and push back on a bunch of other projects. And you know what? I am SO much happier. Go figure.
I am doing a slightly modified Insanity program. It’s one of my favorite Beachbody workouts and the only workout where I have seen results from day one. I’m mixing it in with my new all-time favorite, Les Mills Combat, because those workouts fire me up. And Dan Cohen is one funny and strong dude.
This has always been my downfall. I can give you every excuse, but now, it’s gonna be different. Why? Because I FINALLY HAVE A PARTNER IN THE HOUSE: My husband Mike. It’s so hard when you are trying to eat right and your well-meaning spouse says “Let’s get Mexican. Don’t worry, I won’t force you to eat …”
We are following a specific eating plan, but I’m not going to endorse it or talk about it here until I am past week one. But let’s say this: It’s low-carb, low-cal and high energy. And EASY and PORTABLE. Portability is HUGE for me, especially since I have trips to Hawaii (work-related), Louisiana, San Francisco, Seattle and Canada in the next two months. My eventual plan is to go paleo, and this will put me on the right track. (And paleo no-travel-well-eo)
Last summer, I had great success with the Ultimate Reset. But it’s impossible to take on the road. But if you love to cook and will be home for 21 days straight, give it a shot.
So here we go!
Day One Stats:
- Weight: 152.2 (I am 5-foot-6)
- Favorite summer shorts: Can’t get up over hips
- Dress pants: Fasten. Barely. And in a very unflattering manner.
- Fit comfortably into all summer shorts!
- Get back to last summer’s weight with muscle tone
- Feel good in my skin
- Have visible abs (total life-time goal here)
Wade Robson has everything to lose: his career in Hollywood, his family, friends he has had in the industry since he was a child. He is opening himself up to criticism, accusations of “greed” and an onslaught of hate mail from Michael Jackson fans worldwide (and he will get it, because they have come after me with THOUSANDS of emails in the past).
Robson has realized that the truth is far more important: He was molested by Michael Jackson, and he will no longer live in silence for the sake of his son.
He’s speaking out about a problem that has plagued Hollywood for decades. Remember: Hollywood is the only place where a man like Gore Vidal can get away with calling Roman Polanski’s rape victim a “little hooker”, and where the ”Hollywood elite” such as Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Darren Aronofsky, David Lynch, Mike Nichols, Neil Jordan, Diane von Furstenberg, and Harvey Weinstein can rally behind a convicted child-molesting director.
Hollywood is also the place where both Corey Feldman and Todd Bridges have said that child sex abuse is “rampant” in the industry. Corey Haim’s drug abuse and death has been blamed on sexual abuse he suffered as a Hollywood child star.
I had never heard Robson speak before I was asked to be an expert for the Today Show piece with him this morning. I was asked if a victim’s coming forward later (after denying or not understanding abuse) was a common trend. Unfortunately, it is, especially when the abuser is a well-loved figure—a priest, a teacher, or Michael Jackson. Victims are carefully groomed to love their abuser. They are told that the abuse IS love. They defend their abuser.
And then one day, everything changes. For Robson, it was the birth of his son.
Watching him speak on the show today was heart-wrenching. I felt at times that those were my words coming out of his mouth. Robson was groomed, just like I was and just like thousands of victims across the globe. But now, Robson is strong. He is eloquent. He is speaking his truth.
Hopefully, other Hollywood children—children who were scared into silence by the Michael Jackson machine, children who were threatened by their parents to stay silent, children who were just to ashamed to talk about what happened to them, children who stayed silent because they were the “breadwinners” in the family—will open up, come forward and find healing.
It’s not about the money. It’s never about the money. It’s about finally getting justice for the small child inside of every adult victim.
My only regret is not meeting Robson in person. Hopefully, I will be able to do that.
Let me get this straight:
Lawyers for the Archdiocese of LA want six sex abuse and cover-up lawsuits against one of its former priests, Nicholas Aguilar Rivera, tossed out of court.
Even though, according to the Associated Press:
- The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office in 1988 filed 19 felony counts against Aguilar Rivera,
- “[The Archdiocese] has no doubt these children were his victims” (Church lawyer J. Michael Hennigan)
- Mahony gave the priest permission to work for one year in the Los Angeles archdiocese after the Mexican cleric had been severely beaten at his parish in Tehuacan, in Puebla State … Police found blood, hair and broken glass at the parish house and interviewed witnesses who said young men from many surrounding villages visited the priest in his bedroom and slept there frequently, and
- Aguilar Rivera’s bishop, Norberto Rivera, wrote a letter to Mahony to tell him there had been “several accusations of homosexuality against the priest” that had not been proven, but were believed to be the cause of the attack.
- Cardinal Roger Mahony’s right-hand man alerted the priest [that a complaint was going to be made to law enforcement] – a heads-up that allowed him to flee the country for Mexico, and
- [Mahony told] subordinates to deny a police request for a list of altar boys.
Michael D’Antonio, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of the new blockbuster Mortal Sins: Sex, Crime, and the Era of Catholic Scandal will be visiting the west coast for book signings and lecture events.
He and a panel of experts, including Patrick Wall, Jeff Anderson*, Richard Sipe*, Irwin Zalkin*,and local survivors will discuss the history of the crisis in the United States, what is happening right now, and pivotal next steps for the movement to prevent and expose sex abuse and cover-up in the church.
Two dates have been announced:
June 30 – Seattle, Washington at Town Hall Seattle
We are working on dates and locations in San Diego, Santa Barbara, and the Bay Area.
Be sure to check back here for more dates and information!
*Note: Except for Michael D’Antonio and Patrick Wall, not all speakers will be at all events.
From yesterday’s Honolulu Star Advertiser:
Catholic Church, priest named in lawsuit alleging molestation
A New Jersey man filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that he was sexually molested when he attended St. Anthony’s parish and school in Kailua from 1978 to 1981 when he was about 10 to 13 years old.
Patrick Downes, spokesman for the Roman Catholic Church here, said the Diocese of Honolulu has no comment at this time. Bolger could not be reached for comment.
The suit is at least the ninth filed under a state law that permits the filing of sex abuse lawsuits no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. The law allows such lawsuits until April of next year.
What is important to note is that this is the SECOND priest CURRENTLY living in the diocese to be accused in court documents. The other, George DeCosta, who lives on the Big Island, has been accused of abuse by three men. Both of these men can wear clerical collars, say Mass, hear confessions, hang out with kids and do anything else that a priest can. Both are retired, which means that they do not work in a parish, school, or hospital full time. (More than a dozen other predators have been named in Hawaii sex abuse and cover-up lawsuits who are no longer priests, brothers or teachers; or who are deceased.)
Has Bishop Clarence Silva issued an announcement to the communities where these men live? Has he put these two men on any kind of restriction? Has he adhered to the Bishops’ own policy of temporarily removing the faculties of any any priest credibly accused of abuse?
No. He has done nothing.
But he did give this charming little interview to the Star-Advertiser. So, now we know where he stands on emergency contraception. But once a child is born, it looks like he doesn’t care about the risks his own priests pose … or the healing of victims those priests abused.
The Los Angeles Times just published this great story about Cardinal Mahony. Despite promises from Archbishop Gomez that Mahony would be removed from public ministry, the disgraced Cardinal is performing confirmations across Los Angeles.
Within the past few weeks, the Archdiocese of Newark has settled sex abuse and cover-up lawsuits with five men who charge that they were abused by convicted Newark priest Fr. Carmine Sita.
Sita, who was convicted of child sex abuse in New Jersey in 1983, was later allowed to change his name to Fr. Jerry Howard and move to Missouri, where he continued to work as a priest with the blessing of church officials.
Howard continued to abuse in Missouri. He is currently in Missouri’s Cooper County Jail awaiting trial for sex crimes there.
I wonder if the Archdiocese of Newark would have settled were it not for recent embarrassing revelations that Newark Archbishop Myers had allowed an admitted predator to keep working with children.
The oppressive silence I hear must be Archbishop Myers’ apology to the victims.
After more than 30 years of upsetting, insulting and disgusting Catholics, passers-by and anyone with eyes, Boner Jesus—a mural on the wall of St. Joseph’s Church in Santa Ana—has finally been covered up.
Put this one in the “tentative win” column for new Orange Bishop Kevin Vann.
Let’s just hope that Vann doesn’t think he can cover up other ugliness in the diocese with a simple coat of paint.
From today’s OC Register:
Sexual abuse victims seek more time to sue
BY SCOTT M. REID / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Charmaine Carnes still remembers the sick feeling she had the first time her gymnastics coach sexually molested her.
“I was 8 or 9 years old the first time I felt dread. My coach, Doug Boger, was reaching into my leotard, then under it …” Carnes told the state Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.
“Then I was silent,” Carnes said.
More than three decades later, Carnes and two other former gymnasts who said they were sexually abused by Boger spoke about the abuse that has haunted them, altering the course of their lives, and about how current law prevents victims from pursuing civil actions against the abusers.
Carnes, Ann Malver and Monica Lenches testified in Sacramento in support of a bill that would extend the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse civil cases. The bill cleared the committee later Tuesday.
“I’m here to put a face and a name on this tragedy,” Carnes told the committee.
SB131, introduced by Sen. Jim Beall, D-San Jose, calls for extending the statute of limitations to age 43 for a victim to sue the person who abused them. To sue the abuser’s employer, victims would have to file before they turn 31 years old. In either category, victims whose ages are higher than the statute of limitations will be permitted a one-year window to sue after the bill becomes law.
SB131 also would give victims a causal connection window of five years – compared to the existing three-year period – to file a lawsuit after the date of a finding by a mental health professional that their psychological trauma is linked to their childhood sexual abuse.
Under current state law, civil actions must be filed by the plaintiff’s 26th birthday or within three years of linking psychological trauma to sexual abuse. Forty-one states currently have separate statutes of limitations for child sexual abuse lawsuits. Florida, Alaska, Delaware, and Maine have eliminated the statute of limitations on civil sexual abuse cases.
“We don’t have to be a backward state on this issue and right now we are,” Beall said in an interview with the Register. “This would be a landmark bill that would set the right tone for our society and declare that this is not acceptable in this state; we’re not going to remain silent on this issue. This will tell (abusers) it’s going to cost you if you decide to molest children. We’ve got to have a strong civil suit law to create another deterrent to this.”
Although the bill cleared a major hurdle by passing out of the Judiciary Committee by a 5-1 vote on Tuesday, it will continue to receive opposition from groups connected with the Roman Catholic Church, nonprofits, private schools and the insurance industry.
The bill, said John Norwood, a lobbyist for the California Council of Non-Profit Organizations, would create “an unmanageable statute of limitations from a liability standpoint.”
Beall’s introduction of SB131 follows a 2011 Orange County Register investigation in which 10 former gymnasts Flairs Gymnastics in Pasadena said they were sexually and physically abused by Boger in the 1970s and ’80s. Although Boger was barred for life from coaching by USA Gymnastics, he continued to train young gymnasts at a Colorado Springs gym near the U.S. Olympic Committee’s headquarters. Boger was fired two days after the Register’s investigation was published.
Boger has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
Beall and SB131 supporters argue that the accounts of child sexual abuse victims such as the former gymnastics students demonstrate the necessity of extending the statute of limitations. Nearly half of all victims of child sexual abuse do not tell anyone of the abuse for at least five years, according to multiple studies. In the cases of many victims, the memory of the abuse is suppressed for years, even decades.
Boger’s abuse escalated to rape when Carnes was 11 or 12, she told the committee. “I still struggle with the memory of the stench of his body odor and the taste of cigarettes and beer in my mouth,” Carnes said.
After the abuse stopped, Carnes life slipped into a long downward spiral of abusive relationships, substance abuse, depression, self-esteem issues and burying herself in work, Carnes said in an interview with the Register last week.
“Once the abuse starts it psychologically sends your life spinning,” she said. “I’ve spent years spinning in the middle of this trauma. I’m still spinning to this day.”
But by the time Carnes, like her Flairs teammates, was able to link her psychological trauma to the sexual abuse through therapy, it was too late to pursue civil action against Boger under the current law.
Victims such as Carnes and her teammates, victims’ rights advocate Kim Goldman told the committee, have been “denied justice by a system that lets abusers run out the clock.”
“It’s critically important for these older cases to have a voice,” said Goldman, whose family shared in a $33 million civil judgment against O.J. Simpson. “The current statute of limitations protects no one but the abusers and the people who protect them.”
Contact the writer: email@example.com
Disgraced Cardinal Roger Mahony will be officiating confirmations this evening at a local Los Angeles parish, despite promises from the new Los Angeles archbishop that Mahony and another bishop involved in sex abuse and cover-up would be relieved from public duties.
Documents released in January showed that Mahony, who retired in 2011, personally managed the careers of dozens of child-molesting clerics in Los Angeles. They also showed that Mahony and other church officials covered up abuse, moved abusers from parish to parish, and thwarted efforts by law enforcement to investigate crimes and punish offenders.
In response the the exposure of the damning documents, Archbishop Jose Gomez said in a statement that Mahony would have no public duties in the Archdiocese. Days later, a church spokesperson said that Mahony was a Cardinal “in good standing.”
Bishop Thomas Curry, who was also censured by Gomez for his role in clergy sex abuse and cover-up, was slated to perform confirmations in Ventura, until parishioners’ complaints forced the archdiocese to remove him.
Mahony is scheduled to perform the confirmations at SS Peter and Paul Church in Wilmington tonight at 7 pm.
It’s not surprising that new Orange County Bishop Kevin Vann has put the Marywood Center up for sale. The 15-acre site (sitting on prime property in the swanky hills above the City of Orange) is redundant now that the ink is dry on the diocese’s purchase of the Crystal Cathedral (now Christ Cathedral) in Garden Grove.
What is surprising is one of the links on the listing. CBRE, who is representing the Diocese of Orange in the sale, has a convenient Non-Disclosure Agreement available for easy download right on the site. Want to know the price? Better sign on the dotted line …
One would think that in these era of “transparency” and “openness” that Bishop Vann would consider his parishioners’ money public information (you know, the same money that paid for the purchase and upkeep of the property, as well as the salaries of everyone who worked there). Or that he would at least inform Orange County’s 1.2 million Catholics about the details of the sale. Catholics have earned the right to know what Vann is doing with their money.
But then again, full disclosure would put a damper on Vann’s capital campaign, which is hoping to dig into Catholics pockets (again) to pay for $53 million in improvements to Christ Cathedral.
I think that the money from the sale of Marywood would cover that quite nicely. But I guess when there are so many pockets to pick …
It’s not like he stole money or anything … because then he would have gone to jail AND been excommunicated.
Eleven years after the U.S. Bishops’ Conference promised to “Mak[e] prompt and effective response to allegations; Cooperat[e] with civil authorities; and Disciplin[e] offenders,” we are offered this charming nugget from the New Jersey Star-Ledger:
Six years ago, to avoid retrial on charges that he groped a teenage boy, the Rev. Michael Fugee entered a rehabilitation program, underwent counseling for sex offenders and signed a binding agreement that would dictate the remainder of his life as a Roman Catholic priest.
Fugee would not work in any position involving children, the agreement with the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office states. He would have no affiliation with youth groups. He would not attend youth retreats. He would not hear the confessions of minors.
He has attended weekend youth retreats in Marlboro and on the shores of Lake Hopatcong in Mount Arlington, parishioners say. Fugee also has traveled with members of the St. Mary’s youth group on an annual pilgrimage to Canada. At all three locations, he has heard confessions from minors behind closed doors.
The article is also full of pictures of Fugee on trips and retreats with teens and adults in the U.S. and Canada.
Victims groups, the Star Ledger, a prominent Wisconsin priest and New Jersey lawmakers have called on Myers to step down, saying the archbishop has displayed “arrogance” and a lack of common sense over his handling of the Rev. Michael Fugee, 52, who admitted fondling a 14-year-boy in 2001.
Parishioners are rightfully disgusted, saying that they were not warned that the priest was a child predator.
Myers has remained silent, saying through a spokesperson that Fugee is a priest allowed to remain in ministry (and inferring that if Fugee breaks his promises and hangs out with kids, well, then that’s the KIDS’ problem).
A teacher at Anaheim’s Servite Catholic High School is accused of posing as a girl to get teenage boys to send lewd pictures of themselves. He was arrested in February and faces numerous charges.
In 2011, a teacher at JSerra High School in south Orange County was arrested on charges of lewd conduct with a 14-year-old girl. The mother found texts he has shared with her daughter and reported to police. According to the mother, she also tried to report to the school, but was rebuffed. An independent committee found that the teacher, Ricardo Aldana, had been suspended from another teaching position for inappropriate contact with students. Aldana is scheduled to go to trial this month.
What do these cases have in common? Because of the digital trail of social media, a cover-up was virtually impossible – even after JSerra students wore “Free Aldana” t-shirts, and Servite tried to dilute the news of the sexual abuse with the announcement of a new head football coach.
As I’ve said all along, it’s about the COVER-UP. Fortunately for victims, it’s a lot harder to keep secrets on the internet. Had these men not used digital media, they may never have been exposed.
And any word from new Orange Bishop Kevin Vann? Nah … He’s too busy raising money to rehab his new cathedral. Pity.
Just when you thought he was going away quietly …
Sources say that disgraced Cardinal Roger Mahony is embarking on a “mandatory attendence” PR campaign to convince local priests that he’s the good guy in cases of dozens of clerics who sexually abused hundreds of children during his tenure as Archbishop of Los Angeles.
Although this information has not been confirmed with the Archdiocese (they really don’t like to return my phone calls), we are hearing that Mahony has (allegedly) scheduled meetings in each of the pastoral regions in Los Angeles. All priests in the region will be required to attend the meetings, where Mahony is slated to discuss the recent conclave and his role in the management of sex offending priests.
Considering that Mahony’s blog and Twitter feed discuss how he’s being scape-goated, and how he is big enough to pray for all of those nasty folks who dare protest him, I sincerely doubt he will be answering the “tough questions.” Or any questions at all, for that matter.
“But wait?” you ask. “Isn’t Mahony suspended from public duties?”
Hardly. Even though Archbishop Gomez said that Bishop Curry and Cardinal Mahony would have no public duties in the Archdiocese, a spokesperson quickly back-pedaled. Curry and Mahony are “priests in good standing,” according to the statement, “with full rights to celebrate the Holy Sacraments of the Church and to minister to the faithful without restriction.”
So priests will (allegedly) be forced to sit silently and listen to Mahony, who, documents now show, has criminal culpability in the cover-up of dozens of sex crimes in the Archdiocese. I am doubting that atonement and accountability will be a part of the message.
“But wait?” you ask again. “Didn’t Pope Francis JUST say that ‘hypocrisy undermines the Church’s credibilty’?”
Mahony’s been personally undermining the Church’s credibility for decades. Why should he suddenly change course now?
I will update when I have more information.
On April 5, The Wall Street Journal reported that:
But then, in the next paragraph:
On Friday, Pope Francis met with Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, who heads the office in charge of leading the Vatican’s global crackdown on abusive priests and instructed him to continue the Vatican’s strategy for fighting sex abuse. The pope urged him to “act decisively with regard to cases of sexual abuse, pushing above all the measures to protect minors,” the Vatican said. Swift detection, Vatican officials have said, is crucial to stopping abusive priests.
So I ask: Why is it so important for Pope Francis to crack down on abusive priests NOW, when it wasn’t such a big deal three weeks ago, when he was still Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires?
How can he possibly implement a program on a global level when he couldn’t even draw up simple guidelines to prevent abuse in his own country … on time?
Yesterday, he couldn’t do his homework. Today, he’s the principal of the school. Only one conclusion comes to mind – and it’s not terribly optimistic.
Here’s my take: All we have to go on with Francis is his record. Promises are nice. But as every election cycle (no matter the political system) shows us, most of those promises soon forgotten and ignored.
What really matters are concrete and transparent actions with outcomes that are tangible and measurable. And right now, we are not seeing that.
Instead, this is what we know:
- As Cardinal of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio “declined to meet” with victims of sexual abuse, as requested by the Vatican.
- Although the spokesman for the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires says that there have been no accusations of abuse in that Archdiocese in the past six years, there is at least one church-owned predator priest treatment facility in the immediate area: La Domus Mariae (the House of Mary), north of Buenos Aires. (If there have been no allegations in the past six years, wouldn’t this place be shuttered?)
- There is no tangible record of action on the part of Bergoglio or his priests to punish abusers and hold accountable the men and women who protected them.
I’m not good at predictions. If I were, I’d be in Vegas and this blog would be a money-generating machine. Despite this failing, I’ve been asked a lot by the media what I think of the new pope, his record, what I expect to see in the next few months.
So I made a “to-do list” for the pope’s first week. Then, if any of it comes true, it’ll be like Christmas in March.
Pope Francis I’s to-do list:
- Strip Cardinal Mahony of his title and force him to live a life of silence, poverty, prayer and penance in a mental health facility that treats victims of child sexual abuse,
- Require Pope Emeritus Benedict to sit in a video recorded deposition and tell what he knows about child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church,
- Mandate that bishops worldwide cease legal and verbal (that means you, Cardinal Dolan) battles with survivors and survivors groups,
- Turn over all secret personal files globally to law enforcement and the media, and
- Turn over to law enforcement all accused clerics currently in hiding in the Vatican and other countries.
Yep, I think that would be a great first week. And no, I’m not hopeful.
But a girl can dream, can’t she?
Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director
Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director
Once again, innocent children pay the price because Bishop Stephen Blaire refused to do a simple background check on one of his priests. What is even more tragic about this case is that the arrested priest abused in a parish that–not so long ago–was savaged by the crimes of Oliver O’Grady.
Unfortunately, the case of visiting priest Rev. Julio Guarin-Sosa is not unique. California’s bishops have a habit of accepting foreign priests with little to no investigation of their backgrounds. In Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony accepted two foreign priests–Fernando Lopez Lopez and Nicolas Aguilar-Rivera–with nothing more than a letter of recommendation from their bishops. Had Mahony done any investigation, he would have learned that Lopez Lopez had been convicted of “violent sexual abuse on a minor” in Italy. A few years earlier, Mahony was told that Aguilar Rivera had “homosexual problems” with youths, but accepted him anyway.
How many more of Stockton’s children will be sacrificed because of the lack of due diligence and care on the part of diocese officials? How many more children will be put at risk before Bishop Blaire adheres to his own promises of child protection and transparency?
No one can predict abuse. But it’s easy to prevent. Apparently, Bishop Blaire doesn’t seem to think that child safety is worth the extra effort.
Current priest, Diocese of Honolulu accused of child sex crimes
Two ex-Damien students expose him in abuse lawsuit
Bishop Silva has known about allegations since last August
Despite ‘zero tolerance,” bishop refuses to remove predator
Bishop Silva must oust priest, warn parishioners, group says
Predator is “ticking time bomb” for abuse, they claim
Holding signs and/or photos of themselves when they were abused, child sex abuse victims and their supporters will announce that a long-time Catholic priest and the Diocese of Honolulu have been named in a sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit. The lawsuit says that Fr. George DeCosta:
- Sexually abused two boys while at Damien Memorial School, and
- Continues to live and act as a priest on the Big Island.
They will also ask Honolulu Bishop Clarence Silva to:
- Explain why DeCosta still lives and acts as a priest,
- Tell why he has covered up accusations against DeCosta,
- Obey directives from US Cardinals demanding “zero tolerance,”
- Immediately remove DeCosta’s priestly faculties, and
- Personally visit every parish, school and facility where he worked and reach out to others he may have hurt.
Where: Outside of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, 1184 Bishop Street in Honolulu
When: Wednesday, March 6 at 11:30 am
Who: Members and supporters of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 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
Why: Last week, two Oahu men filed a child sex abuse and cover-up lawsuit against a Big Island priest and the Diocese of Honolulu.
Allegations against Fr. George DeCosta first became known in August, when the two victims filed legal claims in the Irish Christian Brothers bankruptcy. The Irish Christian Brothers is the religious organization that owns Damien Memorial School. They declared bankruptcy in 2011 when more than 250 victims of child sex abuse came forward and demanded justice. Ten predators have been exposed at Damien thus far.
Just yesterday, Chicago Cardinal Francis George said that zero tolerance for sex abuse must be “the universal law of the church.” SNAP believes that allowing a twice-accused predator to live and act as a priest is a “ticking time bomb” for abuse.
Despite the legal claims–and the fact that DeCosta admitted to another allegation–Bishop Clarence Silva allows DeCosta to live and act as a priest at a retreat center on the Big Island. DeCosta retired from being a pastor in 2002, the year that the child sex abuse scandal broke in the United States. He is still a priest, says Mass, works at a retreat center, and has complete access to Catholic children.
Fr. DeCosta is the pastor of the Hale Lokahi community in Hilo. Until recently, he worked with Music Ministry Alive, a MN-based group that trains young people to be liturgical music leaders. He is also the founder of the Big Island Learning and Arts Community (BILAC).
According to the lawsuits, 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. One of the victims charges that DeCosta sexually 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.
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 Clarence Silva to adhere to his promises of safety and transparency and forbid DeCosta from acting as a priest. They also want him to explain why nothing was done to remove Fr. DeCosta when allegations first arose.
The victims asked SNAP to speak out on their behalf, to make sure that what happened to them does not happen to other children.
The victims were able to come forward because of Hawaii’s civil window law. The law, passed last year, gives victims of child sexual abuse a chance to seek justice in the courts no matter when they were abused.
More than a dozen victims have come forward to file lawsuits under the new law, including a California man who says he was molested by former Bishop Joseph Ferrario and Fr. Michael Henry , and a former Damien student who charges that a known predator priest was “dumped” at Damien Memorial to avoid allegations of abuse.