‘$37M to $107M’ could be paid to Guam clergy sex abuse survivors

Guam Daily Post

May 20, 2022

By Haidee Eugenio Gilbert

Payments to more than 270 survivors of Guam clergy sexual assaults could be between $37 million and $107 million, based on documents filed jointly by the Archdiocese of Agana and its creditors Friday morning in federal court.

But most of that remains pending because of still ongoing settlement negotiation or future litigation, including about $55 million from insurers of the Boy Scouts of America.

All Catholic parishes and schools will continue to exist under the proposed plan to get the archdiocese out of bankruptcy.

The archdiocese also plans to sell the properties where the FHP/TakeCare clinic in Tamuning and the Chancery on San Ramon Hill are located, in addition to multiple properties identified much earlier.

Abuse survivors, other creditors and U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood still have to review and approve the joint plan.

These are some of the sources of funding for the proposed survivors’ trust:

  • $18.358 million-plus worth of real estate assets from the archdiocese and Catholic schools and parishes. But this could vary between $16.5 million and $23 million based on the expected market.
  • $6.610 million in archdiocese cash contribution.
  • $18 million contribution from archdiocese insurer, AIG/National Union, under a settlement reached.
  • Still pending: Litigation or up to $15 million settlement with one other archdiocese insurer, CNA.
  • Still pending: $55 million in aggregate contribution from the Boy Scouts of America’s insurers but the BSA’s bankruptcy case is still pending.
  • Portions of proceeds from the sale of FHP/TakeCare and Chancery properties.
  • 150 tuition vouchers at Catholic schools.
  • 50 cemetery vouchers with cash value of $332,500.

“Thus, between the various forms of funding for the Plan, it is expected the Tort Claimants will receive the grand total sum of between $37,019,033.00 and $107,000,000.00, which will be payable to the trust set up through the Plan and Disclosure Statement process,” according to the proposed reorganization plan.

The joint plan was submitted by Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors chairman Leo Tudela and counsels Robert Kugler, Edwin Caldie and Andrew Glasnovich, and Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes and archdiocese counsels Ford Elsaesser, Bruce Anderson and John Terlaje.

Judge Tydingco-Gatewood set a July 13 hearing to consider approval of the joint disclosure statement.

Objections need to be filed by June 20.

Guam clergy sex abuse survivors started suing the archdiocese in 2016, alleging that then Archbishop Anthony Apuron and other members of the clergy raped or sexually molested them when they were minors, dating as far back as the 1960s.

A Vatican tribunal convicted Apuron of molestation of multiple minors and upheld that conviction, stripping Apuron of his title and duty. 

Byrnes has personally apologized to clergy sex abuse survivor Leo Tudela, who is the face of survivors in the bankruptcy case. Prior to that, Byrnes issued multiple statements apologizing to all abuse survivors.

Many of the abuse claims involved a former Boy Scouts scoutmaster who’s also a priest.

The archdiocese sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2019.

This story will be updated.