Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Priest Sex Abuse Suit Filed Against Guam Archdiocese

On Monday, a 49-year old man filed suit in a Guam federal district court against the Catholic Archdiocese of Agana seeking $5 million in damages for sexual abuse he suffered in a Guam church in 1982 when he was an altar boy.  The offending priest, Fr. John Niland, died in 2009.  The complaint (full text) in Charfauros v. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Agana, (D GU, filed 5/22/2017), alleges in part:
12. ... [D]isguising the scheme to have sexual access to young boys was the ritual of requiring altar boys to spend the night at the church rectory, ostensibly to facilitate preparation for the following morning church services.... These seemingly routine practices ... served the predatory priests with a steady supply of victims under the auspices and pretense of formal church protocol, which allowed the Church to continually operate a veritable harem of young boys who were readily available to pedophiles who utilized the stature of the church into deceiving the community to regard them as high-level officials.
13. The systematic and ongoing pattern of sexual abuse of young children was characteristic of an internal society within ... [the] Archdiocese ... whose norms were based on pedophilic conduct disguised by the rituals and pageantry of liturgical services ... which caused Catholic place the highest level of confidence and trust in the church and its clergy. This internal society of sexual corruption sustained itself through a conspiratorial arrangement between priests and higher officials in the Agana Archdiocese whereby they all understood and agreed to remain quiet about each others sexual abuse misconduct....
Pacific News Center reports on the lawsuit. As reported by Crux, last year Pope Francis in effect replaced Agana Archbishop Anthony Apuron after allegations that the Archbishop sexually abused altar boys in the 1960's and 1970's.