Sex Abuse Law Files Sent to Archdiocese

By Haidee V Eugenio
Pacific Daily News
December 22, 2016

Nearly 600 pages of documents related to Bill 326-33, which lifted the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases, was provided to the Archdiocese of Agana.

Aguon responded to church legal counsel John Terlaje’s Dec. 12 submission of a Freedom of Information Act request related to the bill. Introduced by Sen. Frank Blas Jr., the measure lifted the statute of limitations on civil cases related to child sexual abuse, allowing victims to sue abusers and institutions that supported them.

“Please note that, while I have provided these documents pursuant to your request, this response does not waive the privilege granted under federal statute relative to the Guam Legislature, ... nor does this response waive any other privileges such as the attorney-client privilege,” Aguon said in a Dec. 15 response letter Terlaje.

Terlaje submitted the information request on behalf of the Archdiocese of Agana.

Aguon’s response states that under Guam law, draft documents of an agency are listed as records exempt from the “Right of Inspection” and are, therefore, not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. Among Terlaje’s requests was any drafts of the bill.

Read more:

Catholic church seeks files related to sex abuse law

The senator also said all existing privileges or confidential records or other information expressed protected under the law, such as those protected by legislative privilege and attorney-client privilege, aren't subject to FOIA requests. Terlaje’s requests included any and all opinions of the legislative counsel regarding the bill.

Aguon’s office also printed the 589 pages of documents for inspection. Aguon’s office said Wednesday the documents released to the church are part of the committee report on the bill and are therefore public documents. A redacted part of the document released to the church is the personal mailing address of an individual who testified on the bill.

In his response letter, Aguon told Terlaje the requests for all audio and video/visual recordings, including public hearings and legislative sessions, discussing Bill 326-33 aren't in Aguon's or the committee’s possession. Aguon said they may be obtained through central operations at the Guam Legislature.

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Lawsuit: Archdiocese still pays Brouillard

Prior to the governor signing Bill 326-33, the church and several of its supporters lobbied against the measure, saying lawsuits could cripple the church financially and impact its ability to function.

To date, 14 lawsuits have been filed against the Archdiocese of Agana, former and current priests and up to 50 other unnamed persons who may have helped, abetted, concealed or covered up alleged sex abuse. Among those accused of rape and/or sexual abuse besides Apuron and Brouillard are former priest Rev. David Anderson and the late priest Rev. Antonio Cruz.

Apuron is facing a canonical trial at the Vatican, while Brouillard publicly admitted to abusing at least 20 boys on Guam, his home from the late 1940s to 1981.









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