14th Lawsuit Filed against Archdiocese of Agana

By Haidee V Eugenio
Pacific Daily News
December 22, 2016

Another former altar boy filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Agana over allegations of sex abuse by a now-deceased priest, Rev. Antonio C. Cruz.

Ramon Afaisen De Plata, now 62, alleged that when he was about a 10-year-old altar boy at the Our Lady of Peace and Safe Journey Catholic Church in Chalan Pago, in or about March 1964, “Cruz attempted to sexually molest and/or rape” him “by enticing and luring him to engage in acts of sexual conduct, which occurred on multiple occasions.”

De Plata (Photo: PDN file photo)

The complaint cites as an example a night after Mass during Lenten week, when Cruz sought and obtained permission from the parents and guardians of several altar boys, including De Plata, for the boys spend the night at the Chalan Pago Parish rectory, where Cruz resided.

“During the night at the rectory, Ramon witnessed Cruz sexually molest and abuse an altar boy, together with a seminarian named Anthony Sablan Apuron, who would later become an ordained priest on Guam and ultimately serve as the archbishop of the Agana archdiocese,” the complaint states.

De Plata is represented by attorney David Lujan. Lujan filed the lawsuit at 4:56 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22. It's the 14th clergy sex abuse lawsuit that Lujan and Wolff has filed this year.

Lujan (Photo: PDN file photo)

In early September, De Plata told reporters that, 52 years ago, he witnessed Apuron and Cruz sexually abuse an altar boy in Chalan Pago.

At the time, De Plata and other accusers couldn't file suit against the archdiocese or priests because the statute of limitations had long expired.

That changed when, on Sept. 23, Gov. Eddie Calvo signed a law lifting the civil statute of limitations for those accused of abusing children, as well as the institutions that supported them. This paved the way for the 14 lawsuits to be filed against the Archdiocese of Agana and its former and current priests over allegations of sex abuse.

Apuron, the highest leader of the Catholic Church on Guam for 30 years, is now undergoing a canonical trial at the Vatican over multiple allegations of sex abuse of altar boys in Agat in the 1970s. The pope has named a successor to Apuron, Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes.

The Archdiocese of Agana has stated it extends its prayers and apologized to those who have accused clergy of sexually abusing them when they were altar boys.









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