Damien Memorial School, Catholic Church sued by former students
Two former students are suing Damien Memorial School and the Catholic Church of Hawaii. They claim the school covered up tortuous sex abuse by a longtime teacher three decades ago.
Back in 1984 and 1986 two 13 year old boys say they were abused by Brother Robert Brouillette on the Damien campus, in a residence, car and a Kauai hotel. They filed a lawsuit Wednesday under Hawaii's new law allowing former abuse victims to step forward despite the statue of limitations.
"Robert Brouillette was a monster. He cross dressed his victims, he horribly molested and raped them over a period of years and the worst part is school officials knew he was doing it. They removed him once for sex abuse allegations and once things cooled down they brought him back and finally he was removed again," said Joelle Casteix, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
The victims, who didn't know each other, are now in their 40's. They both still live in Honolulu and filed a lawsuit against Damien Memorial School, the Roman Catholic Church and the Congregation of Christian Brothers of Hawaii for allegedly covering up the abuse.
"The public needs to know if they've covered up for pedophiles," said Casteix. "Robert Brouillette didn't limit himself to two victims. No one ever does. The average perpetrator has a child victim count in the hundreds. He was a well versed and well practiced predator. My guess is that there are dozens of kids here in Honolulu and across the islands who were abused by Brouillette and still too scared to come forward."
"That is the most infuriating part of it because these kids' sexual abuse was preventable," said Pat Wall, a former Catholic priest and Benedictine monk who left because of abuse within the system. The exact same things happened at my monastery, at the high school, the exact same pattern of behavior, the exact same pattern of cover up."
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests says Brouillette now has a dozen accusers from five states. Mainland news outlets say he was caught in a police sting in Illinois in 1998 for meeting who he thought was a 12 year old boy for sex. He was convicted of child pornography and sentence to four years probation.
While it makes headlines psychology experts say sex abuse is not just a Catholic Church problem.
"Anytime you have adults that have unsupervised contact with children and teens, a certain percentage will ultimately violate that trust and abuse them," said Thomas Plante, Ph.D., Santa Clara University Psychology Professor, who works with the Catholic and Episcopal Churches on abuse issues.
"I really think there is potential for change. Post Jerry Sandusky, post the Boy Scouts of America scandal with the perversion files we now have a serious chance to get some change done," said Wall.
Damien Memorial School and the Catholic Church here in Hawaii declined comment today saying they have not reviewed the lawsuit.
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