Archdiocese Compiling List of Clergy with Credible Allegations of Child Sex Abuse
By Haidee V Eugenio
Pacific Daily News
November 4, 2017
|Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes speaks during an interview at the Archidiocese of Agana Chancery Office on Oct. 27, 2017.|
The Archdiocese of Agana will compile a list of clergy with credible allegations of child sexual abuse against them, according to Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes.
The Catholic Church on Guam faces more than 140 lawsuits alleging sexual abuse decades ago by 16 different clergy members.
"It would be an important compliance to our own policy," Byrnes said, as the Archdiocese of Agana rolls out revised policies on protecting young people, trains church workers and volunteers, and revives an independent review board on the investigation of alleged clergy abuses.
Because Guam clergy sex abuse accusers and defendants are pursuing mediation to try to settle the lawsuits, there is no telling yet how soon the archdiocesan list could be compiled and released to the public.
Seattle-based attorney Michael Pfau said releasing the names of the accused is a positive step, but the archdiocese should also provide complete files on abusive priests.
"Only then will the archdiocese show complete transparency," Pfau said. "The people of Guam deserve to know the histories of abusive priests and the decisions of the church related to those priests."
These files include church secret archives related to abusive priests, said Pfau, who has represented hundreds of clergy sex abuse survivors across the United States.
Canon law requires every bishop or archbishop to keep archives that contain sensitive records that could pertain to priest misconduct such as sexual abuse of children, substance abuse and alcoholism, mental health challenges as well as psychiatric evaluations.
Pfau said releasing the names keeps the focus on the priests.
"Releasing the files shifts the focus to the Church that made the decisions about abusive priests," said Pfau, who's working with Guam attorney Kevin Fowler representing clergy sex abuse survivors.
However, it's not common for dioceses to release the names of abusive priests and very few have released the files, Pfau said.
Attorney Anthony Perez has made it a point to include in his clients' request for relief a court order requiring the Archdiocese of Agana to post on its website the names of all known clergy who are identified in complaints or those known to the archdiocese as sexual abusers.
The lawsuits said the posting of clergy name should last not less than 10 years from entry of judgment.
More than 140 clergy sex abuse lawsuits have so far been filed in local and federal court against the archdiocese, its priests and others associated with the Catholic Church, along with the Boy Scouts of America and other organizations.
|Father Louis Brouillard is shown in an undated photo from the Pacific Daily News archives. (Photo: PDN file photo)|
Of more than a dozen Guam clergy accused of sexual abuse of children, there is at least one whose name has been included in another list of priests with credible allegations of abusing young people -- former priest Louis Brouillard.
When the Diocese of Duluth in Minnesota released its list in 2013, Brouillard's name was on it. The diocese also confirmed that diocesan documentation for Brouillard, who is accused in 87 clergy sex abuse lawsuits, has been shared with victims' attorneys, the courts and Brouillard's lawyer prior to his Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 deposition.
Brouillard’s sexual activities involving children had been known to Guam church officials for at least a decade before he left the island, according to an affidavit Brouillard signed last year.
The Diocese of Duluth also said Brouillard was sent from Guam to Minnesota for "help with his personal problems," and later barred from serving as a priest after questions arose about a house guest from the island.
Three recent lawsuits against Brouillard accuse him of paying for altar boys and Boy Scouts' trips to Minnesota, where he allegedly continued to sexually abuse them in the early 1980s.