Priest Accused of Fondling Is Named in Earlier Case
By Mary Adamski
Honolulu Star-Bulletin [Hawaii]
January 6, 2007
The former pastor of an Oahu Catholic church who is accused of sexual misconduct with a young man was named in an earlier complaint about inappropriate activities with youngsters, according to court documents.
Trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 16 in the lawsuit by Elton Killion claiming that the Rev. Andrew Mannetta massaged him and touched his genitals on several occasions in 2000.
Court documents filed by Killion's attorney David Gierlach said that although he was 18 at the time of the alleged misconduct, Killion had an IQ of 64 and was not capable of responding as an adult to the priest's overtures.
The priest admitted in depositions to providing beer for Killion on several occasions although he was not of legal drinking age. Mannetta said he found Killion "sexually attractive" and had taken the young man from Chuuk to the beach and movies, bought him clothes and regularly picked him up at the Job Corps.
Mannetta was pastor of St. Elizabeth Church in Aiea from 1994 to 1997. He was on a speaking circuit with the Capuchin Preaching Ministry at the time of the alleged misconduct. He was transferred to New York in October 2002 by his religious superiors after the Killion accusations were made.
The Capuchin religious order, of which Mannetta is a member, reached a settlement with Killion last month. Sidney Ayabe, attorney for the New York-based Capuchin organization, said the terms of the agreement are confidential.
The trial will center on the culpability of the remaining defendant, the Catholic diocese of Honolulu. Attorneys for the diocese have argued that Mannetta was under the authority of the Capuchin order rather than the local bishop. Attorney Mary Lucasse asked Circuit Judge Eden Hifo last month to grant a summary judgment releasing the diocese as a defendant.
The diocese received a complaint about Mannetta in 1994 while he was Aiea pastor, according to a deposition made last February by the Rev. Alan Nagai. He said a St. Elizabeth Church parishioner complained that Mannetta had tickled her son and nephew and sat on their laps, behavior she found inappropriate.
Nagai, who was diocesan vicar for clergy at the time, told attorneys he did not consider it a case of sexual misconduct and did not report the complaint to Mannetta's Capuchin superiors.
Court documents show that Killion's uncle Bruce Walter called the Catholic diocese in September 2002 to report the allegations of misconduct. The diocesan record indicates that within a month, former Honolulu Bishop Francis DiLorenzo told the Capuchin provincial officials that he wanted Mannetta removed from Hawaii. The suit was filed in May 2003.
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