Many of Guam's Clergy Sex Abuse Accusers Finish Church Interviews
By Haidee V Eugenio
Pacific Daily News
May 14, 2018
|Attorney David Lujan, front, walks with his client Roland Sondia, as the two prepare to meet behind closed doors with Vatican tribunal members at the Archdiocese of Agana chancery office in Hagatna on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. Sondia alleges being sexually assaulted by Archbishop Anthony Apuron in the 1970s when he served as an altar boy with Apuron at a church in Agat.|
About half of the nearly 170 people who filed clergy sex abuse lawsuits have completed giving details and additional information to the Archdiocese of Agana's attorneys during interviews to help evaluate claims for possible settlement.
Attorney David Lujan said 40 of the nearly 120 clergy sex abuse victims he represents had already been interviewed as of last week and interviews will continue in the next few weeks.
More than 40 plaintiffs represented by two other law firms gave their interviews in March and April. A third law firm, representing 10 plaintiffs, also has separate interviews.
Interview is part of pre-mediation process
The interview process is much like a deposition. Each person who filed a clergy sex abuse lawsuit is interviewed for an average of two hours, and those present during the interview are attorneys for the defendants including the archdiocese, along with the plaintiff's own attorney.
Visiting Attorney Steven Reich, a partner at the Seattle-based Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala law firm which is working with Guam-based Attorney Kevin Fowler in representing Guam clergy sex abuse victims, on Thursday explains the ongoing interview of victims by the defendantsí attorneys as part of the mediation to try to settle more than 160 cases against the Catholic Church and other entities. He says victims are revealing more details of clergy sex abuses than the information they had in their lawsuits. Wochit
The interview is part of the pre-mediation process to try to reach an out-of-court settlement of clergy sex abuse cases, which is nearing 170.
U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood and Superior Court of Guam Judge Michael Bordallo will hold a joint status hearing on the clergy abuse lawsuits at 8 a.m. on June 5 in federal court. The hearing was previously set for May 15.
Mediation has been rescheduled for Sept. 17-19, with San Francisco-based Antonio Piazza as mediator.