HONOLULU — A 49-year-old Colorado man has sued the Catholic diocese serving western North Dakota, alleging one of its priests sexually abused him when he was a child in Hawaii decades ago.
The priest, then a military chaplain, sexually abused the plaintiff at an Army base around 1974 to 1975, a lawsuit filed in state court in Honolulu on Tuesday said. The plaintiff was 11-12 years old at the time and an altar boy at a Fort Shafter chapel, where the priest ministered to soldiers and their families.
The priest took a special interest in the plaintiff and “showered him with attention,” the lawsuit said. The priest forced the plaintiff to perform oral sex on him in the sacristy, which is a room in a church where sacred vessels are kept, the complaint said.
The lawsuit was filed under a Hawaii law that went into effect in April, providing a two-year window for sexual abuse claims involving minors even if the statute of limitations has expired. The lawsuit was the third such since the law went into effect.
Two other lawsuits were filed against the Diocese of Honolulu. The third lawsuit accuses the Diocese of Bismarck of negligence, saying it should have known the priest was a pedophile and warned the plaintiff’s family.
The priest isn’t named as a defendant and hasn’t been criminally charged for the allegations. The lawsuit said the priest currently lives in Michigan. Attempts to reach him there were unsuccessful.
Jeff Herman, an attorney in Miami who is representing the plaintiff identified only as John Doe No. 87, said Wednesday that the diocese knew the priest had a little boy living with him when he was in North Dakota before he went to Hawaii. Herman said the priest also abused this boy.
The diocese didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.