The bill, by Sen. Frank Blas Jr., D-Barrigada, was introduced after several former Agat altar boys accused Archbishop Anthony Apuron of molesting or raping them in the 1970s. It retroactively lifts the statute of limitations on civil suits, and at least one Apuron accuser has said he plans to sue.
The Archdiocese of Agana opposed the bill and encouraged Calvo to veto it, arguing lawsuits against the church could financially cripple it and impact its ability to run Catholic schools and provide services.
In a letter accompanying the new public law, 33-187, Calvo said it opens the doors of justice to those who suffered a terrible harm as children.
See also: Teacher Starts Campaign to End 2-Year Statute of Limitations of Child Sex Abuse on Guam
and: Changes Recommended for Child Sex Abuse Bill for Guam
Calvo said the bill has several legal and technical concerns — including whether it is even possible under the constitution to retroactively lift the statute of limitations.
“Despite these questions, today I will err on the side of the aggrieved,” he stated.
Blas issued a written statement Friday afternoon.
“I want to thank the governor for his action in making this bill a public law. Since the very beginning, the focus of this legislation was always the victims. It gives them a voice and the ability to seek justice for the harm that was done,” Blas stated. “I want to thank the victims for having the courage to come forward and share their stories and the church groups that actively pushed for this measure in order to give relief to the victims of child sex abuse.”