Court: Parishes, schools part of archdiocese

Pacific Daily News [Hagåtña, Guam]

July 16, 2021

The District Court of Guam ruled local parishes and schools are part of and are unincorporated divisions of the Archdiocese of Agana.

According to court documents, the ruling was due to the limited nature of the official committee of unsecured creditor’s motion for partial summary judgment and not due to the parishes and schools being one in the same with the Archdiocese of Agana.

This committee represents clergy sex abuse claimants and other creditors of the archdiocese, including banks.

Creditors asked the federal court for a partial summary judgment that, if granted, could pave the way for the use of Catholic parishes and schools’ assets to pay some 280 clergy sex abuse claims. The assets include everything from cars and vans to buildings, parishes, schools and cemetery property.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood’s ruling prevents Guam’s 33 Catholic parishes and schools from protecting assets that are likely to be sold off.

The profit from selling assets will be used to pay clergy sex abuse claimants under the Archdiocese of Agaña’s bankruptcy. The archdiocese is expected to pay $21 million, with $7 million from the archdiocese’s assets liquidation and cash savings. Parishes are expected to cover $1 million, while insurers are to cover about $13 million.

A total of 259 clergy sex abuse claims against the archdiocese, dating back to the 1950s.