OCT. 3, 2012—Jeff Herman, a nationally recognized attorney for victims of clergy sexual abuse, announced the filing of a lawsuit against the Diocese of Bismarck for the sexual abuse of a young boy by Father Maurice G. McNeely, a military chaplain at the Fort Shafter Military Base in Oahu, Hawaii during the early 1970s.
According to the Complaint, Father Maurice G. McNeely, a Catholic priest and author of a book entitled, “Catholicism Without the Guilt,” ministered to servicemen and their families between 1971 and 1975 at Fort Shafter. At the time of the alleged abuse, he was on loan to the military from the Diocese of Bismarck.
During this time, John Doe No. 87, the victim in this case, lived with his family across the street from the Chapel at Fort Shafter while his father was stationed there. John Doe was a parishioner and served as an altar boy at the Chapel at Fort Shafter under Father McNeely’s supervision.
According to the victim, Father McNeely quickly took a special interest in John and showered him with attention. The victim alleges that after gaining his trust, Father McNeely sexually abused him. The abuse allegedly included having John perform oral sex on Father McNeely in the Sacristy.
Jeff Herman, the attorney for John Doe No. 87, said, “Our client looked to Father McNeely for counseling and guidance. According to our lawsuit, Father McNeely used his position as Priest and Chaplain to gain this child’s trust and then to sexually abuse him.”
Earlier this year, the Hawaii legislature passed a bill that opens a two-year window to allow victims of sexual abuse in Hawaii to file lawsuits even if the abuse occurred many years ago.
“The new law in Hawaii allows victims such as our client to obtain justice. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Hawaii no longer need to suffer in silence,” Herman sai