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58 Hawaii priests accused of child sex abuse; deadline to file a civil claim extended

HONOLULU (KHON2) - Allegations of Hawaii priests sexually assaulting children date as far back as the 1950s. 

A detailed report compiled by law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates PA and the Law Office of Mark Gallagher reveal 58 men associated with the Diocese of Honolulu who have been accused of sexually abusing children.

The report also shows a letter written by a priest with Maryknoll Fathers, dated November 6, 1959, to another priest on the mainland. In the letter, the priest admits Hawaii was considered a "dumping ground" for troubled clerics from the mainland and the Philippines and Guam. He warned against transferring two troubled priests to the islands, adding "these two men might be most dangerous out here."

The letter went on to continue: "If you decide to send them out, I would ask that it is made plain that we will not stand for any nonsense out here." 

Lawmakers have now extended the window for survivors of sexual abuse. Victims have until April 24,2020 to come forward and file a civil claim. 

The extension has helped victims like John Pedro, 69. 

"Being an altar boy, and the confessional, I believe that was the open door for them." 

The Kailua man spent decades harboring a secret.  In the 50s, he says he was molested by 2 priests at Saint Anthony's Church in Kailua. 

"He wanted to touch you, stuff like that. I was always questioning: how was this supposed to help me? I caved in, I said wow, ok. You know? He's the smarter one."

Pedro credits his wife of over 40 years for coming forward with his story. He hopes others will do the same. 

"I encourage everyone to not only validate but also come forward. Because as my wife told, they need to be held accountable."

Attorney Mark Gallagher says dozens of survivors have come forward in recent years. 

"That is the type of change we're working toward. This law will enable survivors to continue making in our community. And other organizations will step forward and do the right thing and protect children."

We reached out to the Roman Catholic Church in Hawaii, but have not yet heard back. 


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