By TIM KOSNOFF
Cops know it as “M.O.” In Latin it’s “modus operandi” and in English it’s “mode” or “method” of operation.
In matters of child sexual abuse, the M.O. is often eerily the same. Such, according to recent allegations, was the case pertaining to Father George DeCosta, a priest in Hawaii. DeCostsa is listed in a database of priests publicly accused of childhood sexual abuse in Hawaii, as tracked by BishopAccountability.org. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/
The temptation is to use the cliché, “Stop us if you’ve heard this one.” At our law firm we’ve heard the familiar sounding account many times, and the details are as predictable as recurring bad dreams.
The following is from the Aug. 22, 2012, Hawaii Tribune Herald:
The child sex abuse scandal surrounding the Catholic Church has hit close to home, with fingers of accusation pointing at a priest revered in the local community.
Father George DeCosta, who for almost three decades was the parish priest at Malia Puka O Kalani Catholic Church in Keaukaha, has been accused of abuse by two Hawaii men. The two were students at Damien Memorial High School in the 1960s when DeCosta was the chaplain there. [One of the men] was a sophomore at Damien in 1968. …
The [victim] states that DeCosta provided him with alcohol, ‘insisted they go swimming’ and ‘forced’ him into skinny dipping. He wrote that he became ‘incapacitated’ and when he awoke DeCosta was ‘masturbating’ him and ‘fondling his testicles.
The victim went on to describe physical, emotional and psychological injuries due to the sexual abuse by DeCosta, including, but not limited to: dreams, nightmares and flashbacks. The 74-year-old DeCosta, denied the allegations. DeCosta retired from Malia Puka O Kalani in 2002 and is living in Volcano.
So here it is yet again: the familiar sequence. A trusted Catholic Church official is alleged to have been a pedophile. An alleged victim comes forward and gives vivid details of child sexual abuse, a modus operandi familiar to those of us who deal with such cases. Then the alleged perpetrator denies the charges and, until the claims are adjudicated, the accused — his reputation tarnished, if not ruined — nonetheless remains free.
There suddenly is one less priest “revered in the local community.”
And the victims? They’re left, here again, with shattered lives during seemingly every waking hour. Then, when they sleep, there are the predictable, recurring bad dreams. We’re here to help.
Our attorneys are highly experienced in childhood sexual abuse law and offer free initial consultations to potential clients. We are also willing to assist other attorneys in sexual abuse cases. Please call 206-257-3590, or email us directly. Conversations will be kept confidential, and even if you are unsure about a lawsuit, often we can direct you to the assistance you need. You will be treated with compassion and respect.
Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kara Tredway, direct: 206-453-0579
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590