Alleged Abuse Victim Sues Former Maui Priest
By Mary Adamski
Honolulu Star - Bulletin (Hawaii)
May 16, 2003
His complaint led to the Rev. Joseph Bukoski's suspension last year
A Hawaii man whose complaint of sexual misconduct led to the dismissal of a Catholic priest last year is seeking $250,000 in damages from the priest and his religious order.
Eugene Saulibio said in the civil suit filed yesterday that the Rev. Joseph Bukoski provided him with drugs and alcohol and sexually assaulted him. The incidents allegedly happened in July 1976 when Saulibio was 15, attending St. Louis School and living at the Kaneohe seminary of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, according to the suit filed by attorney Mark Bernstein.
Saulibio also named the Sacred Hearts order and Sister Claudia Wong, a psychological therapist, as defendants.
He claims that he met with the Rev. Clyde Guerreiro, former Sacred Hearts provincial, last May and described his allegations about Bukoski, who was a religious brother in training to become a priest in 1976.
The suit says Guerreiro arranged for Saulibio to have an appointment with Wong, who was to provide counseling for him. But instead, "plaintiff's session would be used as a means of putting doubt in the mind of the plaintiff ... and gathering information which could be used by the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts in the event that the plaintiff lodged any complaint," the suit alleges.
The suit further claims that Bukoski told Saulibio in a June 27 telephone conversation "that there was nothing that could be done to him because of the statute of limitations, and that while he was sorry that he was caught and sorry that new allegations had resulted in renewed distress for plaintiff, there wasn't much anyone could do about it."
The suit alleges that "from the time Father Bukoski became associated with the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts, through and including the year 2002, he has demonstrated behavioral problems, including inappropriate sexual conduct."
The order continued to retain Bukoski's services and "in so doing, concealed and/or assisted him in concealing his antisocial behavior out of a concern that the disclosure of Father Bukoski's character faults would be more harmful to the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts than permitting Joseph Bukoski to continue to minister to the public," according to the suit.
Hawaii Catholic Bishop Francis DiLorenzo suspended Bukoski as pastor of a Maui church last May after receiving a complaint alleging sexual misconduct 20 years earlier. In August the bishop removed Bukoski from public ministry after a second accusation of sexual abuse of a minor was investigated by the diocesan Standing Committee on Sexual Misconduct.
Bukoski has denied both allegations. He did not respond yesterday to a request for comment. Bukoski's current supervisor and Wong, a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, also could not be reached for comment.
Diocesan spokesman Patrick Downes said he had no comment on the suit and that Bukoski remains under the jurisdiction of his religious order.
No details of the alleged sexual abuse incidents were provided in the past, and the suit does not include many details.
In the suit, Saulibio said that after he learned of news stories last May about the initial allegation against Bukoski, "he suffered severe emotional distress, resulting in a loss of sleep, agitation and panic attacks."
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