Former Aiea Priest Admits to Homosexuality, Giving Minors Alcohol
Man Files Lawsuit against Priest, Diocese
January 3, 2007
Honolulu -- A young man's lawsuit filed against a former Aiea priest, his religious order and the Honolulu Catholic Diocese is scheduled for trial this month.
At first, Father Andrew Mannetta denied allegations of giving liquor and sexual massages to minors. He later admitted his homosexuality and his regular practice of supplying under-aged men with liquor.
Mannetta was best known as the assistant pastor at St. Elizabeth Church in Aiea in the mid-90s. He served in Guam, then returned to Honolulu, where in 2000 and 2001 the lawsuit said he had a sexual relationship with a 19-year-old Trukese man whose IQ was just 65.
In court documents, the young man said Mannetta got him drunk on beer and licked his body, which the alleged victim described as "gross."
Under questioning by attorneys Mannetta admitted having sex with the young man. He also told church investigators that he regularly met young Micronesian men at local parks, bought them liquor, food and tobacco and asked them if they wanted massages, which he said were therapeutic, but witnesses said were sexual.
Although Mannetta admitted wrongdoing and breaking his priestly vows, that does not mean the church will pay damages. That is because the alleged victim was over 18 and is still unclear on the dates. There also is not much evidence that church supervisors knew what was happening.
There was a complaint in 1994 from families of two St. Elizabeth alter boy candidates who described a bizarre afternoon where Mannetta bought them pizza and tickled and grabbed them at a church office.
Because the incident was not seen as sexual by the diocese, no action was taken. Although Bishop Frances DiLorenzo claimed he ordered Mannetta to no longer have contact with children, Mannetta said he never received such an order.
Court records indicate that Mannetta sought treatment for sexual issues and alcohol abuse and is not assigned to any parish.
None of the lawyers involved in this case would comment on Wednesday.
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