|(Photo: Frank San Nicolas/PDN)|
Everyday thousands of children are being sexually abused. You can stop the abuse of at least one child by simply praying. You can possibly stop the abuse of thousands of children by forwarding the link in First Time Visitor? by email, Twitter or Facebook to every Christian you know. Save a child or lots of children!!!! Do Something, please!
3:15 PM prayer in brief:
Pray for God to stop 1 child from being molested today.
Pray for God to stop 1 child molestation happening now.
Pray for God to rescue 1 child from sexual slavery.
Pray for God to save 1 girl from genital circumcision.
Pray for God to stop 1 girl from becoming a child-bride.
If you have the faith pray for 100 children rather than one.
Give Thanks. There is more to this prayer here
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Sunday, 9 April 2017
Guam Clergy Child Sex Abuse Cases Could Reach 150-200
Haidee V Eugenio
The world’s largest network of priest abuse survivors says Guam’s clergy sex abuse cases could reach into the hundreds over the next couple of years, from 46 at present.
Guam children were allegedly abused by Catholic clergy between 1956 and 1988, based on lawsuits filed in local and federal courts between Nov. 1 and April 6.
“I would not be surprised if you saw 150 to 200 cases over the next couple of years,” said Joelle Casteix, volunteer western regional director for the St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP.
Casteix said her estimate may seem high but Guam children faced a very influential Catholic leadership.
Based on lawsuits, former altar boys said their parents and other adults they knew, were devout Catholics who did not believe them when they tried to tell them about a priest abuse. Others did not attempt to tell adults at all, out of fear they won’t be believed, lawsuits say.
Casteix said the current number of cases is not surprising, either.
The current plaintiffs -- 45 men and one woman -- are now 37 to 73 years old.
“This scandal has rocked the entire Catholic faithful on Guam, to the point where confidence and trust in our clergy is zero,” said David Sablan, president of the grassroots movement Concerned Catholics of Guam.
Casteix said two other factors have not yet been fully explored: the issue of military chaplains, and finding much younger victims who were abused in the 1990s and 2000s, now that the statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse has been completely removed.
“Abuse did not stop in the 1980s,” Casteix said. “The reason that you are not hearing from younger victims is that many are not ready to come forward. Others are not healed enough. Others are struggling with addiction. Many have young children and families.”
The present number of lawsuits does not necessarily reflect the full extent of clergy abuses.
A handful of others, for example, reached out to the Archdiocese of Agana to report their childhood abuse by priests, but were not among those who already filed lawsuits, said the church’s sexual abuse response coordinator, Deacon Leonard Stohr,.
When she visited Guam a few years back, Casteix said what she found shocking was the fear and secrecy surrounding the mere discussion of clergy sexual abuse.
“That indicated to me that the problem was far bigger than even I had imagined,” she told Pacific Daily News.
‘Nowhere to escape’
Casteix, who has been working in child sex abuse prevention for almost 15 years, said the children of Guam faced the same problems that Native Alaska children faced: strong, centralized, very influential Catholic leadership, and children with nowhere to escape.
“Eskimo kids were trapped in Alaska villages with no way out, just like Guam’s children were trapped on the island. And for generations, they were sexually abused,” Casteix said.
Like fishing in a barrel! Remote locations with lots of children are huge magnets for pedophile priests.
She said Guam lawsuits are unique in the way that they mirror the abuse in the Native Alaska villages of Western Alaska.
“They are the only two places I have worked where child sexual abuse was the biggest unspoken ‘elephant in the room’, so to speak. Everywhere else I have worked — California, Delaware, New York, Florida, Washington, almost every state in the union, Native American reservations, even Europe, the abuse was shocking to parents and the community,” Casteix said.
On Guam and Alaska, everyone was just waiting for the first victim to come forward publicly, she said. “Then the floodgates opened,” she added.
When men started publicly accusing Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of raping or sexually abusing them in the 1970s in Agat, the Legislature introduced a bill lifting the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse.
‘Pope Francis’ legacy’
Guam’s archbishop for nearly 31 years, Apuron is also undergoing a Vatican canonical penal trial. This has put a global spotlight on the island’s Catholic church sex abuse scandal. Pope Francis suspended Apuron on June 6, 2016 over abuse allegations.
“What truly makes Guam unique is Apuron. How his case unfolds, I believe, will write Pope Francis’ legacy on child protection and victims’ rights. What will he choose?” Casteix said.
The Guam situation is also unique because its own archbishop is among the ones accused of abuse, canon lawyers had said. Most cases across the United States involve a bishop or archbishop accused of covering up the abuse of his priests.
The pope appointed Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes, of Michigan on Oct. 31, 2016 , to replace Apuron should Apuron be permanently removed, resign or retire.
One former island priest, Louis Brouillard, has admitted to abusing at least 20 boys while he was on Guam. The number of complaints naming Brouillard as their alleged perpetrator now nears 30.
'Late in the game'
Across America, states have been considering expanding or eliminating statutes of limitations on rape and child sex abuse because of high-profile sex abuse allegations.
“Guam is late in the game,” attorney David Lujan told reporters when a Vatican tribunal for the Apuron canonical trial went to Guam. Lujan represents most of the clergy abuse plaintiffs.
Not as late as New York and Pennsylvania! They are disgustingly dragging their feet on statute of limitations reform.
He said lawsuits against priests and the church were filed in the early 2000s across the country, but Guam started only in 2016.
Tim Rohr, who writes about critical church issues on his blog, JungleWatch, initially posted in 2015 a notice asking for information about clergy sex abuse. A year later, Concerned Catholics of Guam paid for newspaper advertisements to post the same notices and the first former altar boy to publicly accuse Apuron came forward on May 17, 2016.
“Concerned Catholics of Guam is hopeful that the survivors of the clergy sex abuse get justice, and that Apuron is defrocked, and will no longer serve as the archbishop of Agana,” Sablan said.
Nearly 600 pages of documents related to Bill 326-33, which lifted the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases, was provided to the Archdiocese of Agana. (Photo: Haidee Eugenio/PDN)
Guam’s justice system is also just beginning to realize the extent and nature of the clergy sex abuse cases. Guam's population is about 85 percent Catholic.
All of the eight Superior Court of Guam judges already filed 89 notices of recusals from hearing clergy sex abuse cases, to avoid doubts about their partiality.
Some conflicts of interest that the judges cited, included relationships with the plaintiffs or defendants. But some were bordering on just being a Catholic. Many of the cases have been filed in the U.S. District Court of Guam because of the local court judges’ recusals.
Seattle-based Attorney Michael Pfau, who has represented hundreds of childhood sexual abuse survivors in multiple states and is co-attorney for some Guam clergy abuse survivors, said it’s unusual for a judge to recuse himself or herself even if that judge is Catholic.
“It is extremely unusual for so many judges in one court to recuse themselves as they have in Guam,” Pfau said. “I have never seen anything like it in my 15 years handling Catholic clergy cases in the United States.”
Guam priests who allegedly abused children:
1. Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, now also under Vatican canonical penal trial.
2. Retired Saipan Bishop Tomas A. Camacho, a former Guam priest.
3. Former priest Louis Brouillard, has nearly 30 complaints against him and admitted to abusing at least 20 boys.
4. Former priest David Anderson, reportedly in Hawaii.
5. Former priest Raymond Cepeda, defrocked around 2010 after a sex abuse allegation investigation.
6. Former priest Joe R. San Agustin or Andrew San Agustin, defrocked at his request for health reasons.
7. Father Andrew Manetta, also faced sex abuse complaints in Hawaii before he was transferred to New York.
8. Antonio Cruz, now deceased, accused in a handful of complaints but was not a named defendant.