Man Says He Is Suing Priest to Protect Other Kids

By Mary Adamski
Honolulu Star - Bulletin (Hawaii)
May 17, 2003

Attorney Margery Bronster and client Eugene Saulibio talked to the media yesterday at a news conference. Bronster said it was difficult for Saulibio to face the spotlight by making his complaint public.

An Aiea man whose accusation of sexual abuse led to the dismissal of a Catholic priest last year said he brought the allegation into the open "to make sure it doesn't happen to other kids."

Eugene Saulibio, 42, said he had suppressed the memory of the alleged abuse for more than 25 years, not aware of the "devastating impact it has had on my life."

Publicity last year about another complaint against the Rev. Joseph Bukoski made his memories surface, he said.

Saulibio made a brief appearance at a news conference yesterday, telling reporters that he was sexually assaulted by Bukoski in 1976 when he was 15 years old. But neither he nor attorney Margery Bronster provided details of the alleged abuse beyond information contained in the lawsuit he filed Thursday in state court.

The suit names Bukoski and the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the religious order to which Bukoski belongs. It also names Sister Claudia Wong, a social worker, to whom he was referred when he first made his complaint a year ago. It claims that the counseling session arranged between Sacred Hearts officials and Wong was "used as a means of putting doubt in the mind of the plaintiff."

Bronster said yesterday that it was difficult for Saulibio to face the spotlight by making his complaint public. Saulibio, a financial adviser, is married and has three children.

"Gene has spoken to friends and family, and he knows he's going to be facing a lot of questions. He felt it important for him to share," said Bronster. "When the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts learned about this accusation, they didn't take Father Bukoski out of his position. When he went to the archdiocese, they believed him and took action."

Honolulu Catholic Bishop Francis DiLorenzo suspended Bukoski as pastor of a Maui church last May after receiving a complaint alleging sexual misconduct 20 years ago. In August, after Saulibio's accusation was investigated, DiLorenzo removed Bukoski from serving as a priest in Hawaii.

Bukoski, who has lived in the Sacred Hearts Kaneohe headquarters for the past year, has denied the accusations. He did not respond to requests for comment this week. Neither did Wong or the Rev. Clarence Guerreiro, provincial of the religious order, who is mentioned in the suit.

Bukoski was the only Hawaii priest to be removed from duties last year in the clergy sex-abuse scandal that led to dismissal of hundreds of Catholic priests throughout the country.

In January this year, DiLorenzo removed another priest from Molokai parish work because of charges about sexual misconduct in the Philippines. The Rev. Roberto Batoon, who had served in Hawaii parishes since 1997, was ordered to return to his diocese in Laoag, near Manila.


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