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Hawaii Clergy Abuse

Church & Priest Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Hawaii

Hawaii Catholic church clergy sexual abuse lawyers

Were you or a loved one a victim of the Hawaii clergy abuse scandal? To schedule a free case evaluation, fill the contact form or call us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call).

The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can fight to defend your rights and provide a safe environment for you to discuss what happened. A clergy abuse lawyer affiliated with our firm has a comprehensive understanding of Hawaii tort law and uses the legal system to help survivors of sexual abuse through their trauma and legal problems.

Recently, with the help of the Hawaii Legislature, the Catholic Church in Hawaii has had to answer to victims of child sex abuse in civil suits. Stories have emerged about the decades of horrors of clergy sexual abuse in the parishes of Hawaii.

Now, childhood sexual abuse survivors are able to have their day in court when they are victims of clergy sex abuse. While the Church has settled dozens of civil suits filed against it, there are more new ones being filed each month against the Catholic leaders.

Nearly all of these court cases claim that church officials and the Bishop knew about the abuse and did nothing other than cover it up and fail to report it. Even though the state’s diocese adopted reforms in an attempt to clean up its act, there are still hundreds of survivors of sexual abuse who suffered at the hands of the Catholic officials which failed at its basic duty of protection of minors.

Hawaii Sexual Assault Lawyer

Our law firm has worked with victims of sexual abuse as they seek to receive financial compensation in civil sexual abuse claims for the sexual exploitation that they endured at the hands of a priest or other clergy member.

To initiate your abuse claim to seek justice, you, or your loved one, will need to reconstruct what happened to prove your case before a judge and jury. You will likely need the help of a Hawaii clergy sexual abuse lawyer who can discuss your legal options and gather the evidence and testimony needed to make your case a strong one.

Call our personal injury legal team today at (888) 424-5757 to schedule your free consultation for legal advice. Let our law firm begin the process of filing a sexual assault lawsuit. We represent injured clients in Hawaii and all other states to ensure that the inappropriate behavior by abusers stops.

The Hawaii Catholic Diocese

The Diocese of Honolulu covers the entire state of Hawaii. It is part of the ecclesiastical province of the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Roughly 20% of about 250,000 Hawaii’s residents are Catholics. Hawaiin Roman Catholics are the single largest religious group of all faiths statewide.

The Diocese of Honolulu and its Bishop manage eighty-six parishes and thirty-eight parochial schools in five counties on the Hawaiian Islands.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Honolulu

51184 Bishop St
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 585-3300
Bish. Clarence “Larry” Silva

Hawaii’s Church Survivors of Sexual Abuse History

The Diocese of Honolulu has had several factors that have contributed to it being one of the worst dioceses in the United States when it comes to sexual abuse of minors. The first is that like several other religious communities in the Western United States, Hawaii was a “dumping ground” for priests from other areas who were accused of childhood sexual abuse, but their Bishops did not want to involve law enforcement.

Roman Catholic officials viewed Hawaii as a place where troubles priests could escape the harm that they visited children on the mainland and viewed the relative isolation of Hawaii as something that could be used to their advantage.

Instead of reporting the crime, these Bishops simply moved them out of state where they could prey on other children for a long time period. The second factor that prevented the Diocese of Honolulu from taking strong action against sexual predators in the diocese was the fact that the diocesan Bishop was an accused sexual predator.

Bishop Joseph Anthony Ferrario was one of the first major Roman Catholics to be publicly accused of sexual abuse as the former altar boy went on national television to discuss the alleged abuse.

The Supreme Court of Hawaii ruled that the Bishop could not face criminal charges and be prosecuted as a defendant due to the statute of limitations.

In other words, diocesan officials may have been compromised themselves and could not act to protect young people. They engaged in a cover-up to shield their own from prosecution at the expense of their victims.

New Abuse Civil Lawsuits in Hawaii

The Diocese continues to face new abuse lawsuits by alleged victims. The abuse problem in the diocese was so severe that a law firm compiled a 50-page booklet with a list of sixty Hawaii clergy members that have been accused of child abuse.

However, hundreds of priests may have been left off of this list of accused predators. The Pennsylvania grand jury report that has been the basis of many public investigations of Roman Catholics states that over 1,000 children in Hawaii were sexually abused by more than 300 accused priests.

The Hawaii Senate has debated a resolution that would require Attorney General Clare Connors to investigate Hawaii clergy and issue a new report. While the Diocese did move to a zero-tolerance policy much earlier than other Roman Catholic dioceses throughout the country, there are still decades worth of sexual abuse history of the Church to address and scores of victims who deserve financial compensation for the exploitation that they have suffered.

The Hawaii Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations

The Hawaii Legislature has waived statutes of limitations law for childhood sexual abuse cases three different times since April 2014. Each time, the Legislature extends a two-year retroactive window, Allowing survivors of sexual abuse who were previously kept from filing lawsuits due to time limits more time to take legal action against the Church, predator clergy members, and other private organizations.

The most recent waiver of the time-limiting statute expired in April 2020. Numerous new lawsuits were initiated before then with talk that the legislature will pass a fourth waiver of the statute to further give every victim of child sexual abuse even more time to submit lawsuits in the appropriate county courthouse.

However, when many recent extensions expired this past April, there was no renewal passed. Instead, Hawaiian legislators are considering changing the current statute in sex abuse cases from eight years past the victim’s 18th birthday to fifty years past that birthday.

For now, the statute of limitations waiver has expired and there is no current move to extend it again.

The COVID-19 pandemic seemingly put an end to the efforts to extend this window again. However, before the waiver expired, there were a number of cases submitted in advance of the deadline.

Hawaii is the only state in the country to extend its statute of limitations three times, but it may serve as a model for states like New York and New Jersey that have passed one waiver period but may try new laws to add even more years for victims sexually abused by Catholic clergy to sue for compensation.

Many children were victims of continuous sexual assault by a clergy member of the Roman Catholic Church lasting multiple years. Many times, the religious organization failed to protect young children against the priest's destructive behaviors and have since forgone helping survivors of sexual assault.

Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Damages in Catholic Church Clergy Abuse Cases

When you file a civil case for the misconduct that victimized you, there are a number of damages to which you are entitled. You deserve to be placed in the same position as if you never suffered abuse at the hands of the Roman Catholics.

Lawsuit damages in childhood sexual abuse cases may include:

  • Pain and suffering for the emotional trauma that has been a part of your life since the sexual abuse occurred
  • Any out-of-pocket medical expenses including the cost of medical and psychological/psychiatric care
  • Lost earnings if the effects of the sexual abuse keep you from working or earning your full potential
  • Possible punitive damages when the diocese’s conduct was egregious

All and clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct and the Catholic Church should be held responsible in the civil legal system. Many victims who were previously time-barred from filing childhood sexual abuse claims can now seek legal remedy in state and federal court.

Holding sexual predators financially accountable helps the victim overcome the devastation they have experienced since the abuse occurred.

Hire a Child Sex Abuse Lawyer

Our Hawaii sexual abuse injury lawyers will provide immediate legal advice on how to file your civil claim. Our lawyers understand that this is not an easy process for you to become a plaintiff in a civil sexual abuse suit.

Let a sexual abuse lawyer work with you with the sensitivity necessary to fight hard on your behalf to seek justice and ensure you receive the compensation that you deserve.

Your legal rights are important to our law firm. From your first phone call to us, we will provide you with the information needed to file your civil case. Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone call) for a free confidential consultation to obtain justice.

Our sexual assault injury attorneys can begin the process of filing a sexual abuse lawsuit against the Diocese of Honolulu. All information you discuss with us remains confidential in an attorney-client relationship.


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