by Andrew Walden
Catholic Charities has been added as a defendant in an October, 2019, sex-assault lawsuit (Graves v Hawaii, Civil No. 3CCV-19-0000022) alleging a Child Welfare Services social worker knowingly placed a 13-year-old girl, identified only as ‘TG’, into the same Kailua-Kona foster home where her older sister had previously been sexually assaulted.
This is the second foster care lawsuit in which Catholic Charities is named as a defendant due to its DHS foster home licensing contract.
Here are some key excerpts from the plaintiff’s February 8, 2023 memorandum in support of amending the complaint:
CATHOLIC CHARITIES HAWAII responded to Plaintiff’s Subpoena … with documents indicating they were DHS’ contracting licensing agency. See Exhibit 1. Documents obtained through discovery indicate that CATHOLIC CHARITIES HAWAII completed a report establishing that Defendant GLORIA HOLMES and her home were “suitable” for foster children as of 2013. See Exhibit 1.
‘Exhibit 1’ is sealed, but the memorandum describes its contents:
Documents produced by CATHOLIC CHARITIES HAWAII reveal that:
1) Defendant GLORIA HOLMES did not have a driver’s license;
2) No medical background check was completed for Defendant Wayne Holmes, (Gloria Holmes’s son) who was a schizophrenic adult male living in Defendant GLORIA HOLMES’ household;
3) Criminal background checks were not completed for Defendants GLORIA HOLMES, WAYNE HOLMES or TYE PUAOI-MARCELLINO; and
4) Only one investigation was completed regarding the suitability of Defendant GLORIA HOLMES’ home in 2013. No follow up visits/reports were done.
The girl was placed in foster care on or about July 31, 2017, then allegedly endured several months of sexual assault at the hands of two different adult male alleged perpetrators who were living in the house.
Both have criminal records.
The complaint alleges:
23. Prior to Plaintiff’s placement with Defendant G. Holmes, Plaintiff met with her assigned Child Welfare Services case worker, Defendant (Kerry) Perez, at Starbucks in Waimea, Hawai‘i.
24. Plaintiff’s older sister was also present at this meeting.
25. During this meeting, Plaintiff’s sister disclosed that, while she was a minor, she was sexually abused by Defendant Puaoi-Marcellino.
26. Defendant Puaoi-Marcellino is a family friend and frequent visitor to the home of Defendant G. Holmes, and has been known to stay at the residence.
27. Kerry Perez overheard this disclosure and responded, “Don’t tell her [Plaintiff] that otherwise she won’t go there [G. Holmes’ residence].”
28. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff was placed in the foster home of Defendant G. Holmes, who was approved by Defendant DHS to be a foster parent.
29. Defendant Puaoi-Marcellino would often visit the home of Defendant G. Holmes unannounced and had open access to the home.
30. Defendant Puaoi-Marcellino lived at the residence of Defendant G. Holmes from approximately October 2017 to February 2018.
31. Within two months of Plaintiff’s foster placement with Defendant G. Holmes, Defendant Puaoi-Marcellino showed a sexual interest in Plaintiff, who, at the time, was thirteen (13) years old….
The suit then graphically details multiple allegations of sexual assault on the alleged 13 year old victim in 2017 and 2018. And, “after being repeatedly sexually assaulted, Plaintiff suffered from suicidal ideations and depression.”
The Attorney General’s office tried and failed to block the suit from being reinstated complaining, “Defendant Kerry Perez, a former employee of the Department of Human Services, has left the employ of the Department and has relocated to the Mainland.”
In January, 2020, three months after the original suit was filed, defendant Tye Puaoi-Marcellino was charged with felony family abuse in a separate Hawaii Family Court case. On March 4, 2020, he was sentenced to 48 hours confinement and two years probation.
Catholic Charities did not respond to a request for comment.
PDF: Second Amended Complaint and Memorandum in Support of Motion