Pacific Daily News [Hagåtña, Guam]
March 24, 2022
By Shane Healy
The Archdiocese of Agaña and parties working with sex abuse survivors announced they are “inches” close to reaching a settlement amount.
“I would say 30 days ago — even two weeks ago — we were a mile or two apart, and now I would measure the distance apart by inches,” said attorney Edwin Caldie, who’s representing the survivors and creditors in discussions with the Archdiocese.
Following a ruling made by Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, the parties involved were scheduled to discuss a settlement amount Friday morning.
The ruling made on Feb. 26 allowed the archdiocese to use funds from the Catholic schools and parishes to help pay survivors of sexual abuse.
Although the set amount was not reached, attorneys on both sides said after productive discussions since the ruling was made, an amount should be settled in the coming months.
“We’re getting to a point where I think the archdiocese and the committee and survivor’s counsel are very close,” Caldie added.
However, the attorney representing the archdiocese, Ford Elsaesser, was unable to give elements of the settlement because it would be a breach of confidentiality. Caldie expressed similar sentiments.
“It’s been a very positive, good faith effort by all the parties,” Elsaesser said. “We’re very encouraged that we can put this together for you (Tydingco-Gatewood) in a relatively short order.”
Tydingco-Gatewood in response said she was “very happy to hear” about the developments despite hoping for an agreed amount.
“I was hoping Mr. Caldie was saying miles apart to an inch apart… but I think that’s really positive,” said Tydingco-Gatewood who suggested having another hearing on April 8 to discuss details of the settlement further.
One of the first survivors to publicly accuse the Guam clergy of sexual assault back in May 2016, Leo Tudela, 78, was also present at the hearing and said he was appreciative of the process.
“Your Honor, I’m very happy to hear what’s going on today and I’m very hopeful that we can settle it in a month or a couple of months,” Tudela said.
“I’ve talked to some of the survivors and they’re very, very happy that finally after over six years this has come to some conclusion and I appreciate that very much.”
Reach reporter Shane Healy at