Guam Church Works to Fight Sex Abuse

Every year, the Catholic Church is sued by former altar boys who file charges of sexual abuse. But, the Archdiocese of Agana in Guam, under new leadership, is looking to put an end to the recurrence of sexual abuse by people in the church. Concurrently, the archdiocese has encouraged those who have been victims of sexual abuse to find counseling in the church-organized support group. “The Archdiocese of Agana pledges to do all it can, under new leadership, to ensure that all people in our care, most especially our young and most vulnerable, thrive in a safe and loving environment fully protected from any harm,” the archdiocese said. In the end of November, nine lawsuits had been filed to the Guam Superior Court against former Archbishop Anthony Apuron and Father Louis Brouillard, who worked in the church from the 1950’s till October of 2016 when they confessed to sexually abusing altar boys decades prior. The lawsuit came about after a new law lifter the statute of limitations for all sexual-abuse crimes. The lawsuits came about the same time as the Archdiocese prepared to welcome newly appointed Archbishop Michael Byrnes. His arrival, according to the archdiocese, will open “a new chapter in its history.” “The Archdiocese of Agana cares deeply about the protection of minors and all people entrusted to its care. We extend prayers to all victims of clergy sexual abuse,” the archdiocese said in a statement, following the latest court filings made by former altar boys Paul Joseph Borja and Vicente T. San Nicolas this week. The archdiocese stated that they take matters of sexual abuse very seriously. In September, the church formed a Task Force for the Protection of Minors, who has members that visit the church to train staff on preventing sexual abuse, safe boundaries and mandatory reporting requirements. “The training will extend to our Catholic parishes,” the archdiocese said. The Victims Support Group is developing more complete outreach, support and counseling assistance for all victims who come forward.

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