Church Officials Should Adopt Plan to Address Child Sex Abuse

Pacific Daily News
November 17, 2016

The Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagatna as shown in 2014.

As more individuals step forward with allegations of clergy sex abuse, and the possibility there may be others, we urge the Archdiocese of Agana to adopt a sensible plan to address the claims.

Church officials should consider the seven-point plan recommended by the Concerned Catholics of Guam.

The plan states:

Petition the Guam Bar Association president to establish a lawyer referral service practice area for child sex abuse.

Petition the Victims Advocate Reaching Out, Child Protective Services and the Healing Hearts Crisis Center to establish user-friendly procedures to provide help to child sexual abuse victims.

Petition the Guam Legal Services Corp. to establish a victims of child sexual abuse contact office, which will be a central source for provision of information services available to victims.

Establish a nonprofit foundation, whose board of directors shall be comprised of Catholic laymen with no interests in any of the Archdiocese of Agana’s affairs, and who are professionals in the area of financial trust management. The foundation would solicit, maintain, and disburse funds pursuant to its rules, to help victims achieve closure for their past ordeals.

Petition the Guam Crime Stoppers to establish specific procedures to deal with child sexual abuse victims.

Establish a board of visitors comprised of Catholic laymen having no financial interest in archdiocesan affairs. The board shall conduct inquiries into archdiocesan matters as are appropriate to ensure implementation of plans, agreements and compliance with the provisions of recommendations one through five.

Commit funds collected through the Archdiocesan Annual Appeal to be allocated to the activities set forth in recommendations one through five.

The plan would go a long way toward preventing and detecting abuse as well as helping victims heal.

Moreover, the archdiocese’s implementation of the plan would help restore trust in the institution. It would show accountability and humility.

As a moral and spiritual leader on Guam, the church has guided and inspired generations of residents. Now it must practice what it preaches about justice.








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