Maui News

Suit Filed on Maui Against The Salvation Army

May 22, 2013, 9:50 AM HST
* Updated May 22, 10:42 AM
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Hoapili Hale, Maui judiciary and court building. Photo by Wendy Osher.

Hoapili Hale, Maui judiciary and court building. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

A lawsuit was filed in Maui’s Second Circuit Court on Tuesday against The Salvation Army and the estate of a former employee who has since died.

The suit alleges gross negligence claiming that instead of terminating an employee following allegations of child sex abuse more than 50 years ago, the organization allegedly transferred the individual and utilized his services on Maui.

The suit was filed by attorneys Charles McKay and Randall Rosenberg of Honolulu’s Rosenberg & McKay on behalf of Honolulu resident Nancy Spencer.

According to the complaint, plaintiff attorneys allege Major Richard Tenkan Taba abused their client on at least three occasions in 1959 in his Salvation Army office on Oʻahu when she was 11-years-old.


Attorneys for Spencer say the woman and her family were under the impression that Taba was terminated after the alleged abuse was reported to authorities; but they say Spencer learned otherwise after his death.


In the complaint, Spencer said she learned through an obituary notice that Taba continued to serve as The Salvation Army’s Chaplain on Maui for the past 40 years.

An obituary notice in the Honolulu Star Advertiser says Taba was a minister for more than 65 years with the Salvation Army under “active-retired” status.  It did not specify where that service was rendered.

An online request for comment from the Salvation Army went unanswered yesterday. Efforts to contact Taba’s family prior to the publication of this article were also unsuccessful.


The suit seeks non-monetary relief including justice for survivors of sexual abuse, an apology, a published statement of gratitude to Spencer for speaking out, and protection of kids in the future.

The complaint also makes demands for a jury trial.

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