March 6, 2013
Accused Priest remains in ministry despite charges that he abused boys while at Damien Memorial in Honolulu
Honolulu men file lawsuit – say Fr. George DeCosta sexually
abused them at Damien High School in 1960’s
(Honolulu, Hawaii) Working with the Oahu-based law firm of Mark Gallagher, nationally prominent clergy abuse law firm Jeff Anderson& Associates, announced today the filing of a civil lawsuit on behalf of two Honolulu men who say they were sexually abused in the 1960’s by Christian Brother priest Father George DeCosta at Damien Memorial High School in Honolulu.
In addition to DeCosta, the lawsuit filed yesterday in Circuit Court in Honolulu, Hawaii, names Damien Memorial High School, the Roman Catholic Church in the State of Hawaii and the Congregation of Christian Brothers as defendants. The Irish Christian Brothers is the religious organization that operates Damien Memorial School. When they declared bankruptcy in 2011 more than 400 victims of child sex abuse came forward and demanded justice.
The plaintiffs, identified in the complaint as John Roe 6 and John Roe 7 to protect their privacy, earlier last year also filed bankruptcy claims when the Irish Christian Brothers filed for bankruptcy as the result of increasing financial pressures over allegations of sexual abuse of children by their priests and bothers.
Despite the bankruptcy claims and this current lawsuit, Father DeCosta remains a priest in the Diocese of Hawaii.
The two men state that as students at Damien in the late 1960’s they trusted Father DeCosta and came to have great admiration and respect for him. What the boys didn’t know was that they were being groomed and would soon be victims of sexual abuse. The complaint alleges that after a period of time Roe 6 and Roe 7 were forced to perform various sexual acts when on camping trips and while “praying” with the priest.
The lawsuit claims that leaders in the Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii were aware of claims of previous complaints of sexual misconduct by Father DeCosta, but as in past practice, concealed the information from the students and left them vulnerable to an alleged sexual offender. As a result, the complaint states, the Diocese was grossly negligent in not warning students at Damien of Father DeCosta’s history.
The lawsuit on behalf of the two men was filed under a new law allowing adults who were victims of sex abuse as a child a two year “window” to seek justice in Hawaii’s civil courts. The legislation was approved in by Hawaii’s legislature in 2012 and permits the filing of claims only until April of 2014.
Contact: Mark F. Gallagher 808.535.1500
Contact: Attorney Jeff Anderson 888.567.5557 Mobile 612.817.8665