Priest Gave Sharp, Unemotional Answers on Guam Child Abuses
By Haidee V Eugenio
USA Today Network
November 5, 2017
|Father Louis Brouillard is shown in an undated photo from the Pacific Daily News archives|
Former Guam priest Louis Brouillard did not show much emotion and remained fairly sharp mentally when he provided, over a four-day period, information about the "tragic circumstances that allowed him to have access to Guam's children for many years," according to one of the attorneys involved in more than 140 lawsuits accusing Brouillard of child sex abuse.
Brouillard's Oct. 31 to Nov. 3 deposition in Pine City, Minnesota, where he lives, brought together attorneys for most plaintiffs and defendants from different parts of the nation.
Seattle-based attorney Steven T. Reich, a partner at the law firm Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala, said Brouillard was deposed over four days, and he "remained fairly sharp mentally, and cooperative throughout."
"I asked Mr. Brouillard many pointed questions, and he appeared to make a genuine effort to provide honest answers. With regard to Mr. Brouillard’s demeanor, he did not show much emotion, and was rather matter of fact during his testimony," said Reich, whose law firm works with Guam attorney Kevin Fowler in representing clergy sex abuse accusers.
Brouillard, 96, is the only accused island clergy member who has publicly admitted to abusing children while on Guam. In phone interviews and a signed affidavit late last year, he stated that he sexually abused more than 20 boys on Guam. He is accused in 87 of 142 lawsuits to date.
"Overall, I was satisfied with the information we were able to gather (last) week about the tragic circumstances that allowed Mr. Brouillard to have access to Guam’s children for many years," Reich said.
All the parties agreed to depose Brouillard for three hours a day, for a total of 12 hours. At the deposition, Brouillard was accompanied by his attorney, Thomas Wieser of the St. Paul-based law firm Meier, Kennedy and Quinn.
Brouillard served as a priest on Guam from 1948 to 1981 and was also a scout master for the Boy Scouts of America.
The Diocese of Duluth had confirmed that Brouillard was sent from Guam to Minnesota for "help with his personal problems" in 1981 and later barred from serving as a priest after questions arose about a young house guest from the island.
Three recent lawsuits accused Brouillard of separately bringing Guam boys to Minnesota in the '80s and continuing to sexually abuse them there.
No mediation deal reached
Most parties in the Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuits are pursuing mediation to try to settle the cases out of court. Brouillard's deposition comes during a pre-mediation information gathering process, with parties hoping to hold a formal mediation in March.
Reich said the attorneys for all parties did meet briefly in Minnesota last week to discuss the potential mediation protocols.
However, no agreement was reached, Reich said.
"Out of respect for the process, I do not want to comment on the areas of disagreement, but additional discussions are possible," he said.
In previous status hearings in federal court, attorneys told the judge that among the areas the parties still could not agree on include whether or not it would be a global or individual settlement, and how soon the defendants should compensate the victims after formal mediation is over. The parties have yet to formally select a mediator.