Settles Sex Suit
It Will Pay $375,000 to a Man Who Says a Priest Abused Him

By Debra Barayuga
Honolulu Star-Bulletin [Hawaii]
January 19, 2007

The Catholic Church has settled a lawsuit and agreed to pay $375,000 to a man who alleged he was sexually abused by a priest.

The settlement was reached Wednesday night on the eve of trial between Elton Killion, who alleged that the Rev. Andrew Mannetta massaged him and touched his genitals on several occasions in 2000, and the church, which made no admission of liability.

The settlement resolves the remaining claims in the lawsuit that also named the priest and the Capuchin Preaching Ministry, of which Mannetta was a member.

Killion, who was 18 at the time the sexual abuse started, is now 26 and lives in Honolulu.

"He's glad that it's over and hoping to be able to repair what happened in his life," said Killion's attorney, David Gierlach.

The incidents triggered depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and either exacerbated or caused a problem with drinking, Gierlach said.

Honolulu Bishop Larry Silva said in a written statement that they are pleased that the matter is resolved.

"Drawing this dispute out in a protracted court battle would not be in the best interests of the plaintiff, the church or Andy Mannetta," Silva said. "By the terms of this agreement, a disputed claim is resolved without admission of liability and without the hardships, disruptions and acrimony of trial."

Silva added, "Today's resolution dismisses the remainder of the plaintiff's claims and enables us to put this matter behind us and to continue the church's mission in Hawaii."

In December, Killion reached a confidential settlement with the Capuchin religious order. Mannetta was dismissed from the case because he had no assets, Gierlach said.

Mannetta was a pastor of St. Elizabeth Church in Aiea from 1994 to 1997.

In depositions, Mannetta admitted to providing the underage Killion with beer on several occasions. He also said he found Killion "sexually attractive" and had taken him to the beach and movies, bought him clothes and picked him up regularly from the Job Corps.

Mannetta was removed from Hawaii and transferred to New York in October 2002 shortly after the allegations of misconduct were reported by Killion's uncle. Killion filed suit in May 2003.



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.