Hawaii Diocese Settles to Avoid Sex-Abuse Trial
Matter Involves Former Guam Pastor
Pacific Daily News [Honolulu HI]
January 19, 2007
The Catholic Diocese of Honolulu has reached an out-of-court settlement with a Honolulu man to avoid a sex-abuse trial.
Elton Killion had accused Andrew Mannetta, a former pastor of St. Elizabeth Church in Aiea, of unwanted sexual misconduct from 1997 to 2001 when he was a minor.
Mannetta also served as a priest on Guam for about six years in the 1980s, according to Pacific Daily News files.
The church will give Killion $375,000, according to Killion's attorney David Gierlach.
"We are pleased that an opportunity to resolve this matter presented itself," said the Rev. Larry Silva, Bishop of Honolulu. "The legal process is long and painful. Drawing this dispute out in a prolonged court battle would not be in the best interest of the plaintiff, church or Andy Mannetta."
Gierlach said the settlement will allow Killion, 25, to move on with his life.
"We're pleased that the church takes responsibility for the misconduct of one of its own and we hope this is a new day in the Roman Catholic church where sex-abusing priests are no longer tolerated by the institution," Gierlach said.
The lawsuit alleged that Mannetta served Killion alcohol and engaged in unwanted kissing and sexual assault. The complaint said Mannetta used his authority as a Roman Catholic priest to facilitate his conduct.
Originally from New York, Mannetta first came to Guam in 1980 as a seminarian working in Our Lady of Peace and Safe Journey Catholic Church in Chalan Pago, according to PDN files.
Mannetta chose Guam as his first assignment after he was ordained into the priesthood in May 1983.
While on Guam, he also served as the pastor of the Santa Teresita Church in Mangilao, the Our Lady of Assumption Church in Piti. He also opened the Guma San Francisco homeless shelter in Hagåtña, PDN files state.
The Archdiocese of Agana was unavailable for comment yesterday.
Mannetta moved to Oahu from Guam in 1993 and became pastor of St. Elizabeth Church in 1994. But he resigned as pastor in 1997 to begin his own "preaching ministry," visiting various church parishes, the Catholic Diocese has said. Mannetta was reassigned to New York in 2002.
The Mannetta case was the latest legal settlement lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct by the Catholic clergy in Hawaii.
Eugene Saulibio settled a lawsuit in 2005 that accused the Rev. Joseph Bukoski III of sexually assaulting Saulibio when he was 15 years old.
Catholic Church officials in Hawaii in 2004 reached settlements in lawsuits against Manuel Feliciano, a sacristan who pleaded guilty to molesting a boy at Sts. Peter and Paul Church in Honolulu, and the Rev. Roberto de Otero, who was accused of molesting two boys at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
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