It was scheduled to start this week. Alleged child molester faces two accusers
A civil child sex abuse and cover up trial against a Hawaii priest and local Catholic officials has been delayed.
The trial, against the Diocese of Honolulu and the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers who employed Fr. Joseph M. Henry (deceased), was set to begin September 23. But it has been pushed back because Judge Edwin C. Nacino in of the First Circuit Court wants it to be re-filed under a newer state child sex abuse law.
That law, commonly called a civil “window,” gives anyone who was molested as a child in Hawaii a chance to file a civil lawsuit, no matter how long ago the alleged crimes happened.
“We’re disappointed because this brave victim is in poor health and because Hawaii citizens deserve to know the truth about church officials who commit and conceal child sex crimes,” said attorney Michele Betti of New York/California (646) 895-0939, firstname.lastname@example.org) who represents two men who report having been sexually assaulted as children by Fr. Henry at St. Anthony’s Catholic School in Kailua.
“During this delay, we hope that more current or former church staff or members of
Diocese of Honolulu and the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers will come forward with what they know about Fr. Henry and his complicit colleagues.”
“Delays like this are emotionally tough for victims who have often waited years for justice,” said David Clohessy, director of a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “And the sooner cases like this move ahead, the sooner citizens and Catholics learn more about how cover ups of abuse happen and future cover ups are deterred.”
“Hawaii lawmakers clearly want wrongdoers – especially those who hurt kids – to be held responsible in court,” said Senator Maile Shimabukuro of District 21, one of the lawmakers who supported the civil ‘window,’ which passed in April 2012. “I hope this individual isn’t too discouraged by this development and that others who’ve long carried the burden of secret childhood suffering won’t be discouraged either.”
The first known public allegation against Fr. Henry was made by David Figueroa in 1991. Fr. Henry was sued for child sex crimes again last year.
(In the 2012 lawsuit, the victim was allegedly molested by both Fr. Henry and then-Bishop Joseph Ferrario.)
Much of Fr. Henry’s career was spent at St. Anthony’s Parish in Kailua on Oahu’s Windward Coast—a small-town parish with a school, preschool and active charity league.
Fr. Henry died in 1974. His photo is available at BishopAccountability.org
Other accused predators who have been publicly exposed through civil lawsuits brought during Hawaii’s civil “window” include Br. Douglas Zlatis, Br. Lawrence Robert Christensen, Fr. Anthony Bolger, Father Bruce J. Cullerton, Brother Thomas Duffin, Fr. George DeCosta, Br. J. P. Lackie, Br. John Paul Nedvit, Br. Karl Walczak and Br. Dominic Stone.