July 29, 2005

Deacon Charged With Sexual Assault


Brooks Baehr bbaehr@kgmb9.com

Parishioners at Saint Ann's Church on Maui are in shock after the head of their parish was arrested on 62 counts of sexual assault.

Deacon James Ron Gonsalves, 68, was behind bars at the Maui Community Correctional Center Thursday night. Gonsalves had been in charge of Saint Ann's for the past six years, but he's been removed from that post and put on leave because of the alleged sexual misconduct.

Saint Ann's has a relatively small congregation of about 230 active parishioners. It didn't have a full time priest, so in 1999 deacon Gonsalves was hired as church administrator.

"A priest would come in on weekends to say mass and to hear confessions, that sort of thing, because a deacon can not do that. But everything else in the parish. he was in charge," said Patrick Downes, spokesman for the Catholic diocese of Honolulu.

Downes said church leaders heard late last month that Gonsalves was the subject of sexual abuse allegations.

Posted by kshaw at July 29, 2005 08:09 AM