Private mediator for church sex abuse cases comes with hefty price tag


By Krystal Paco

How deep do their pockets go? The Archdiocese of Agana likely to go for broke due to the millions of dollars in lawsuits it faces from decades of clergy sex abuse. And although a majority of the cases are anticipated to be settled out of court – getting a private mediator to serve as a middleman will come at a hefty price tag.

That was the issue raised in court today – and why the chief judge herself is proposing a cheaper alternative.

Private mediator or sitting judge? Parties in the nearly 100 cases of clergy sex abuse could save thousands of dollars if they opt for the latter. Attorney Jacque Terlaje said, “I was told by my colleagues that the rate that is being proposed for this private mediation is a $10,000 per day just for the mediator.” Terlaje represents Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, David Lujan, meanwhile, staying mum on the price of his chosen mediator, only commenting, “I can’t say it.” When asked whether it might be $10,000, he replied, “Whatever it is, it is.”

On Friday, Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood called parties to her courtroom to propose they use a mediator already on staff. namely Judge Alex Munson. Not only is he an experienced mediator, his services would be at no expense to parties. Parties agreed to consider her recommendation, but only after meeting with Oregon-based private mediator and retired federal judge Michael Hogan on September 5 in Hawaii.

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