Church waiting on decision to determine if parishes are considered assets

KUAM Radio [Guam]

April 16, 2021

By Nestor Licanto

Another motion hearing was heard today in Guam District court in the long-running clergy sex abuse civil case.

The church first filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2019. It was forced to sell off assets such as the former Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona to help pay for more than 200 claims filed against local Catholic clergy for alleged abuse that dates back decades. Today Archdiocese of Agana Attorney Ford El-Saesser argued to exclude other church assets from any claims settlement.

“We believe that the parishes are not part of the bankruptcy property, the bankruptcy estate as it’s called, and I think you’ve all heard the arguments and reported on them,” he said. “So I don’t really want to get into a discussion especially since while we’re really just waiting on the judge’s decision. And we’ll be able to answer the questions then, thanks.”

The church has been in mediation with attorneys for the plaintiffs off-and-on to try and reach a settlement for more than a year. Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood will ultimately rule on the bankruptcy petition and settlement.