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Abused in Hawaii Blog

3-time Accused Predator Hid in Plain Sight on Oahu

By: Mark Gallagher
8/13/14

A three-time accused Jesuit priest spent nine years hiding out on Oahu, new research shows.

Jesuit priest Fr. Thomas J. Sullivan has been accused of sexual abuse by three boys in Los Angeles. The victims, who have come forward in lawsuits and to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, say that Sullivan abused them when they were students at Loyola High School in Los Angeles. (link: http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Sullivan_Thomas_J_sj.htm)

After his time in Los Angeles, Sullivan bounced around from Rome to San Francisco, finally ending up at the University of Hawaii Newman Center, where he worked for nine years from 1969-1978. According to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Sullivan was assigned as the director of the Newman Center, The website for the Newman Center even lists Sullivan as a former director who came "at the invitation of (Honolulu) Bishop John J. Scanlan. He worked zealously to continue the Newman apostolate." link http://www.newmanhawaii.com/?page_id=90

But Sullivan is listed nowhere in Diocese of Honolulu directories. He was hiding in plain sight and where his Los Angeles victims would not be able to find him.

If you have information about Fr. Sullivan—no matter how small or seemingly insignificant—you can help victims of child sexual abuse.


Two-time accused predator visited Hawaii with Guam archbishop

By: Joelle Casteix
7/28/14

Just this week, Archdiocese of Hagatna Archbishop suspended Fr. John Wadeson, a twice-accused priest who had been hiding out on the island territory.

Survivors and whistleblowers discovered that Wadeson traveled to Honolulu with the Archbishop in February, where he celebrated the Archbishop's 30th anniversary Mass.

Archbishop Apuron acknowledged that he knew that Wadeson had two allegations of abuse and that the priest had been banned from acting as a priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

According to news reports, Wadeson was only removed due to the bravery and tenacity of survivors and whistleblowers who demanded accountability.





By: Jeff Anderson
7/16/12

Last week, an Oahu Grand Jury indicted Sacred Hearts Academy religion and sex education teacher William Plourde on one count of first-degree sexual assault and six counts of third-degree sexual assault. Bail is set at $200,000.

Plourde has been a teacher at the school for 29 years. In addition, he was the Music Director at the Newman Center, the Catholic parish at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He was removed from both positions upon his arrest.

Although the alleged incidents took place during the summer break, students at the all-girls Sacred Hearts Academy told the press that the teacher was "creepy."

Religion teachers at Catholic schools can be very influential over students. They are charged with leading students through the process of spiritual growth. They also lead retreats (on and off campus) and counsel and mentor kids who are troubled. The fact that Plourde also taught sex education is also troubling, especially since we have seen in hundreds of cases how predators can use "sexual education" to blur boundaries and get access to vulnerable teens.

If other students have come forward with complaints against Plourde, it is possible that those complaints are hidden in secret personnel files at the offices of the Diocese of Honolulu. Students at UH-Manoa also may have valuable information about Plourde that can help the police.

It is painful to come forward and talk about abuse, especially when the police are involved. But remember: our justice system protects crime victims. Coming forward is a safe process, and there are services that can help you emotionally as you deal with the pain of your abuse. You are not alone. If you have been abused—by Plourde or anyone—call the police. If you need emotional support, call the Sex Abuse Treatment Center.

Victims and witnesses have legal rights and protections.





Documentary exposes predator foster parent, shows power of civil window

By: Jeff Anderson
4/14/14

Because of Hawaii's civil window—and a team of passionate advocates—five foster brothers have a chance for justice.

Today, Vice News, released LOVE SERVE SURRENDER. This explosive documentary tells the story of serial predator Jay Ram, a former "hippy guru" turned foster parent. For more than 20 years, Ram fostered and adopted more than two dozen innocent boys in California and Hawaii and moved them to his Big Island farm, where he sexually molested them.

After living in shame and silence for more than a decade, five of Ram's sons have come forward to tell their story.

The boys couldn't come forward earlier. First, Ram used his power over the boys to silence them, even when one of the other foster boys reported to the police. Then, when they boys were finally strong enough to tell their stories and get accountability, they were silenced by the courts, who said that their statute of limitations had expired.

The Civil Window

In 2012, brave Hawaii legislator Maile Shimabukuro sponsored and passed Hawaii's civil window, a law allowing victims to come forward and use the courts, no matter when the abuse occurred. After being turned down by lawyers and the courts for years, the boys had little hope that a lawyer would take their case. Unlike cases in the Catholic Church, there is little compensation available. But the attorneys at Jeff Anderson and Associates and The Law Offices of Mark Gallagher knew that the moral imperative was far greater than any compensation. These boys deserved justice and Jay Ram needed to be exposed.

The window for victims closes on April 24. After that, victims of Jay Ram and other predators may have no more rights in the courts.

Jay Ram Exposed

The documentary crew follows Ram's entire career, from hippy in Northern California to Hawaii farmer, and from Saipan to Florida. Throughout, the documentary tells the boys' stories of loss and devastation and how a team of advocates came together to help them protect other children.

Click to view Love Serve Surrender





Longtime Honolulu Teacher and Music Director Arrested for Sex Abuse

By: Jeff Anderson
7/16/12

Last week, an Oahu Grand Jury indicted Sacred Hearts Academy religion and sex education teacher William Plourde on one count of first-degree sexual assault and six counts of third-degree sexual assault. Bail is set at $200,000.

Plourde has been a teacher at the school for 29 years. In addition, he was the Music Director at the Newman Center, the Catholic parish at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He was removed from both positions upon his arrest.

Although the alleged incidents took place during the summer break, students at the all-girls Sacred Hearts Academy told the press that the teacher was "creepy."

Religion teachers at Catholic schools can be very influential over students. They are charged with leading students through the process of spiritual growth. They also lead retreats (on and off campus) and counsel and mentor kids who are troubled. The fact that Plourde also taught sex education is also troubling, especially since we have seen in hundreds of cases how predators can use "sexual education" to blur boundaries and get access to vulnerable teens.

If other students have come forward with complaints against Plourde, it is possible that those complaints are hidden in secret personnel files at the offices of the Diocese of Honolulu. Students at UH-Manoa also may have valuable information about Plourde that can help the police.

It is painful to come forward and talk about abuse, especially when the police are involved. But remember: our justice system protects crime victims. Coming forward is a safe process, and there are services that can help you emotionally as you deal with the pain of your abuse. You are not alone. If you have been abused—by Plourde or anyone—call the police. If you need emotional support, call the Sex Abuse Treatment Center.

Victims and witnesses have legal rights and protections.





Hawaii Civil Window already exposing predators

By: Jeff Anderson
5/2/13

Thanks to brave survivors, at least 16 accused child sex predators have been exposed in Hawaii since April 2012.

Hawaii's landmark civil window gives victims of child sexual abuse until April 2014 to come forward and use the civil courts to expose their abusers, no matter when that abuse occurred. Similar laws in California and Delaware have exposed hundreds of men and women who sexually abused children.

Were it not for the civil window, many victims would still be silenced and the actions of men who hurt children and cover up abuse would never have been exposed.

Here are some of the men who have been exposed so far:

- Former Bishop Joseph Ferrario - Bishop Ferrario was accused of sexual abuse by two men in the 1989. Because of a lapsed statute of limitations, the victims had no legal rights. In August of 2012, one of those men, Mark Pinkosh, used the civil window to come forward publicly to file a lawsuit and tell his story.

- Current retired priest George DeCosta - Fr. DeCosta, who is retired but still a priest in good standing, runs a ministry on the Big Island. He has been accused of abuse by three men. He has never been reprimanded by Bishop Silva and no announcement has been made to parishioners in Volcano, where he lives. DeCosta works among children, despite the charges against him.

- Kailua priest Fr. Joseph Henry, who has been accused of abuse by numerous boys during Henry's decades-long tenure at St. Anthony's parish and school.

- Br. Robert Brouillette has been accused of abuse by victims in six states. He was convicted of possession of child pornography in Illinois in 1997. He worked at Damien on and off in the 1970s and 1980s.

- Serial molester Fr. Gerald Funcheon recently admitted in a taped deposition that he molested children at Damien.

- Br. Thomas Ford, a former dean of students at Damien, was convicted of beating abandoned children in Canada.

- Former Damien principal Br. Karl Walczak

- Former Damien teacher Br. Lawrence Robert Christensen

- Fr. Larry Spellen, who worked as a chaplain at Damien, was later removed from ministry in Utah because of credible allegations of abuse.

- Former Damien teacher Douglas Zlatis, who is also accused of breaking a victim's hand.

- Hakalau farmer Jay Ram has been accused of abuse by at least one of the young men he fostered and then adopted. Other victims have come forward, but have not yet filed lawsuits.

- Fr. Edwin Meuth

- Br. Bruce Cullerton

- Br. Thomas Duffin

- Longtime Honolulu teacher David Brock



A Window of Hope in Hawaii

By: Jeff Anderson
8/24/12

This week I traveled to Hawaii to launched an effort to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse achieve healing, justice, and accountability under a new Hawaii law that removes the current statute of limitations and provides a two-year window to file a civil claim for damages.

Jeff Anderson On Tuesday, Joelle Casteix, a California survivor who took advantage of a similar window law there, hosted an event in Hilo where she exposed Fr. George DeCosta and his abuse of students at Damien Memorial High School in the late 1960s. Damien is run by the Irish Christian Brothers, a religious order that filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. DeCosta was a priest in the Diocese of Honolulu but abused students when he worked as the chaplain at Damien. Of the 422 claims filed in the Irish Christian Brothers bankruptcy, 12 of those claims stem from abuse at Damien Memorial High School. DeCosta worked as a priest until 2002, when he retired. As my colleague Mike Reck said, it’s “several decades of kids” were exposed to DeCosta and it’s extremely troubling that he may still work with an organization where he is allowed access to kids.


Jeff Anderson We held a press conference yesterday in Honolulu where courageous survivor Mark Pinkosh (John Roe 2) went public for the first time about his abuse by Fr. Joseph Henry and Fr. Joseph Ferrario. Mark courageously spoke of the horrific abuse he suffered and how his childhood parish did nothing to stop the abuse even after he told church officials what happened to him. Fr. Ferrario, like DeCosta, was a diocesan priest who worked as a chaplain at Damien Memorial. The case of DeCosta and Ferrario highlight a deep connection between the Diocese of Honolulu and the Irish Christian Brothers, which led to abusive priests working with both entities and abusing kids throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Ferrario went on to become the Bishop of the Diocese of Honolulu and was the first U.S. Bishop ever to be accused of sexual abuse. However, the case against him was dismissed and Ferrario died a respected and decorated clergyman in 2003.

I was grateful for the opportunity to begin our effort in Hawaii, to meet with a number of courageous survivors and begin the process of hope, healing, and recovery. Hawaii’s two-year window truly provides renewed hope for many survivors whose claims were previously time-barred. My team and I look forward to working with Joelle Casetix, Mark Gallagher, Mike Reck, and others to empower survivors to come forward and to seek justice on their behalf.



Deadline for Damien Memorial School's Victims of Abuse

By: Jeff Anderson
7/16/12

If you were sexually abused at Damien Memorial School or were sexually abused by an Irish Christian Brother in Hawaii, you need to know about a very important deadline that is rapidly approaching.

The Irish Christian Brothers (ICB), who run Damien Memorial School and other schools across the country, filed for bankruptcy last year because more than 50 ICB child sex abuse victims came forward and sought justice in the courts. As a result, the bankruptcy judge imposed a deadline for all victims at Irish Christian Brothers schools to come forward and get accountability.

That deadline is August 1, 2012. After that date, victims at Damien will no longer have the power to seek accountability from the Irish Christian Brothers for the abuse. However, many Damien victims may have rights under Hawaii's new two-year civil window, which allows victims until 2014 to come forward and use the civil courts to seek justice, no matter when the abuse occurred.

This may seem confusing and overwhelming. But if you are a victim, or know someone who has been abused, don't let deadlines scare you from coming forward and spreading the word. Because of dozens of brave victims have already come forward, predators like Fr. Gerald Funcheon, Br. Thomas Cuthbert Ford, Br. Robert Brouillette and Fr. Larry Spellen were exposed at Damien, where they preyed on innocent and vulnerable kids.

The first step is always the hardest. No one wants to say they were sexually abused. But if you were abused at Damien, please call before August 1, 2012. Not only can you aid in your own healing, but you can help a child who may be at risk of abuse right now.





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