Local Connection: Church Scandal

Local Connection: Church Scandal

By: Rick Blangiardi

Just as we have finished celebrating the joy of seeing a charismatic new pope installed as the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, we are reminded of the sobering remnants of what pope francis faces in the wake of sex scandals within the church.

We reported just last week on the story of a priest who taught at Damien memorial school in the early 1980s and his sickening admission during a videotaped deposition that he had sexual contact with teenagers here locally and across the country.

The Rev. Gerald Funcheon admitted in a deposition involving several civil lawsuits that accuses him of molestation and that he had sexual contact with at least 18 young men while others have said it was more like 50.

Whatever the number, it is shocking that Funcheon was transferred from Minnesota to Hawaii in 1982 because of sexual misconduct but still was allowed to teach and have contact with Damien students.

Aiea resident Kory Oakland was the first plaintiff to file a Hawaii lawsuit against Funcheon last year. Since then, two other alleged victims have come forward.

Funcheon was allowed to have contact with students at other assignments even after leaving Hawaii.

So, we have great hope in what Pope Francis represents, but in order for him to be fully effective, he must deal with a legacy of shame that didn't start on his watch but will affect countless young people for years to come.

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