Suit accuses church of not doing enough to prevent child sex assaults

Suit accuses church of not doing enough to prevent child sex assaults
Updated: Dec. 21, 2017 at 6:06 PM HST
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(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new lawsuit filed by a former member of the Calvary Chapel of Honolulu accuses the church of not doing enough to protect young girls from being molested more than a decade ago.

The suit alleges that the church failed to adequately screen and supervise Curtis Barnes, who in 2005 served a year in prison and five years of probation after he pleaded guilty to 3rd degree sexual assault of several girls.

"The church knew or should have known that he posed a danger to these kids," said attorney Mark Gallagher, who filed the lawsuit.

"It's not just my client who had a problem with him. So the church should have screened him, supervised him, trained him and prevented him from having unfettered access to young girls."

Gallagher represents a woman, now 19, who alleged that in 2003 Barnes fondled her at a church event at its Aiea campus.

"It was a potluck. Members of the church were there. Employees of the church were there. And he was successful in removing her from the group and isolating her in an adjacent area (where he) abused her," said Gallagher.

Barnes -- now 55 -- lives in Kaneohe, according to the state's registry of sex offenders. He declined comment. Supporters said he has not re offended since.

Gallagher says the ordeal left his client distrustful of others and has shaken her confidence in church organizations.

Calvary Chapel had no immediate comment.

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