Alleged Abuse by Hawaiian Priest Has a Familiar Ring to It

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.

Continue reading

Revising the Statute of Limitations in New York and Other States is the Right Thing to Do

By DANIEL FASY

No one can say that Margaret M. Markey hasn’t tried.

The New York State assemblywoman has been laboring in vain since 2006 to change the way that the Empire State has remained maddeningly negligent in facing a pressing need, articulated last May by the Queens Borough Democrat

Last spring she wrote to constituents:

“I held a series of informational events in Albany earlier this year to bring to the attention of Governor [Andrew] Cuomo and my colleagues in the Legislature to the wide-ranging problem of child sexual abuse in society.

“We looked at the recent revelations in the world of sports and learned about abuse in schools and institutions. We heard one of the state’s leading prosecutors speak about how current statutes of limitations in New York State need to be changed in order to bring justice to victims.

Continue reading

After the Pope’s Butler Leaks Documents, the Vatican Tightens Security

 What Are the Implications for Continued Secrecy Amidst Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandals?

Posted on Dec. 10, 2012

By TIM KOSNOFF

Micro-chip tracking for human surveillance in the Vatican?

Monsignor 007?

Is this the contemporary Catholic Church or a new James Bond movie?

Truth be known, observers are never really sure about what to make of the deliberately arcane ways that have made the Catholic Church something of an ongoing mystery for two millennia.

The latest strange behavior by Vatican authorities would seem amusing in perhaps a satirical way were it not juxtaposed with the grim realities of an institution pressed with the necessities of dealing with decades of child sex abuse crimes, details of which are being revealed each week from around the globe.

Continue reading

From India to Africa, Ireland to Australia, Child Sexual Abuse is a Global Problem

Posted on Dec. 3, 2012

By DAN FASY

Although the focus of our law firm is providing a service to American and Canadian survivors of sexual abuse, we are constantly reminded of the problem of child sexual abuse that is pervasive throughout the world.

The crime of pedophilia, of course, is scarcely restricted to the United States, even though such domestic abuses fittingly get the bulk of the attention in this country. Perhaps this gives some American news consumers the impression that the scourge of such abuses is more prevalent in this country. That being the case, perhaps we would do well to acknowledge the abundance of child-sexual-abuse news emanating from countries around the world.

A sampling of news items from the past month includes the following:

A recent report in The Herald Sun, a major newspaper in Australia found that a decision by Prime Minister Julia Gillard to establish a royal commission into child sexual abuse “has the backing of almost every Australian.”

A well-regarded pollster asked some 1,400 Australians about the prime minister’s initiative, and 95 percent said they support the move, with just 3 percent opposed to it.

The director of the poll later said he couldn’t remember any issue ever receiving such near-unanimous approval.

Beyond that, the news account observed that the royal commission, which will inquire into all institutions, not only churches, “has the support of all political parties, state and federal.”

In contrast to such enlightened poll numbers, a few weeks prior to the above the Daily Observer in Africa actually carried an opinion piece headlined: “Gambia: Say ‘No’ to Child-sex Tourism.” One wonders: as opposed to say “yes” to such an abomination?

Coincidentally, a few weeks ago The Times of India reported that a campaign under the banner of “say no to child abuse” would soon be launched by a group of non-government organizations. The campaign is the work of officials at an advocacy group called Childline.

One advocate, Dr. Jagmeet Chawla, said: “This should be made a mass movement and the issue should not be kept under wraps.”

Several days prior to the above dispatch, CNN carried a brief item with information similar to what tragically has become all too familiar to news consumers and criminal-justice officials:

“London (CNN) — A retired bishop and a retired priest have been arrested by British police on suspicion of sexual offenses against boys and young men — one as young as 12 — in the 1980s and 1990s.

“The 80-year-old former Church of England bishop, from Somerset in south-west England, was questioned in connection with eight alleged offenses before being released on medical advice.

“Police say the man — the highest-ranking church official to be arrested on abuse allegations — will be questioned again at a later date.

“His former colleague, a 67-year-old retired priest from West Sussex, in southern England, was questioned over two alleged offenses before being released on bail pending further inquiries.”

 

From the Nov. 6 edition of the Irish Examiner:

“The vast majority of sex-abuse survivors who sought help in rape-crisis centers last year were attacked as children, it was revealed today.

“Of the 2,308 people who went for counseling, 53 percent of the women and 84 percent of the men reported the violence occurred when they were children only. Some 65 percent of survivors said they were abused aged younger than 12.

“The Rape Crisis Network of Ireland (RCNI) revealed that those who came forward last year had waited on average 25 years to access its services.”

 

From BBC News, Nov. 5:

“The prime minister is appointing a ‘senior independent figure’ to look into the way allegations of sexual abuse at north Wales children’s homes in the 1970s and ’80s were dealt with.

“Victim Steve Messham has said that the Waterhouse inquiry of 2,000 only covered a fraction of the alleged assaults.

“Another of the homes’ residents says [officials] did not hear all of the abuse claims.”

Tragically, such also could be observed by those of us in many other parts of the world.

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
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590

A Big Thanks to Reporters Covering Stories on Childhood Sexual Abuse: You Help Make Change Happen

By TIM KOSNOFF

Members of my law firm would be less than candid if we said we aren’t pleased with the publicity our work has recently won. This isn’t so much because of any benefit the media coverage has brought to us. It’s about the nature of the work we do: defending child victims of sexual predators.

From years of representing abuse victims, I’ve learned that the media spotlight is nearly always welcome. That’s because the press spells out the horrors of sexual abuse and the often egregious enabling on the part of institutions. And the court of public opinion demands change. We saw it in 2002 when the Boston Globe uncovered wide-spread sexual abuse by priests within the Archdiocese of Boston. In the ensuing decade, similar cases came to light nationwide. We saw it this year with Penn State. And now we’re likely to see the public demanding improved safety measures from the Boy Scouts of America. The media interest in recent days promises to give victims ever greater impetus to come forward and join the battle against pedophiles, so many of whom continue to function undiscovered and unpunished.

Continue reading

One Writer Asks: ‘Just How Flagrant Does a Pedophile Need to be Before the People Around Him Contact the Police?’

By TIM KOSNOFF

A great value of contemporary journalism and published commentary is that technology has made it easy for readers to offer instant responses. These modern-day letters to the editor often are as revealing as the writing that prompted them. A Sept. 10 New York Times op-ed piece, for example, by staff columnist Frank Bruni, is interesting not just for its substance but also for the readers’ reactions (there were about 150 at last glance).

Bruni cites a pair of high-profile cases of child sex predators. One, inevitably, is the infamous Jerry Sandusky.

Continue reading

Great Falls Tribune: Sex abuse suit filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings

Ten people filed a lawsuit Wednesday claiming they were sexually abused as children by Roman Catholic priests and nuns in central and eastern Montana, including a priest who was on a board that reviews allegations of child sex abuse for the church. The following article is from the Great Falls Tribune and Written by KIMBALL BENNION

Continue reading