Dismissal of clergy sex abuse charges sought

Tuesday April 18, 2017 Written by Published in Regional

GUAM – The Archdiocese of Agana in Guam has asked the US Federal Court to dismiss dozens of clergy sex abuse lawsuits, based on a challenge to a seven-month-old law that lifted the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse cases.

 

Attorney John Terlaje, one of the attorneys for the archdiocese, along with US-based lawyers, on Monday filed a report on the April 24 scheduling and planning conference.

It referred to at least 37 sex abuse cases with claims he said were from 30 to 36 years ago. To date, the archdiocese is facing 46 clergy abuse lawsuits, including a handful filed in local courts.

“The Archdiocese and Archbishop Anthony Apuron have filed motions to dismiss based on a challenge to the newly-passed statute of limitations relating to child sex abuse codified at 7 GCA 11301.1,” he said.

The law, signed on September 23, 2016,  gave victims of child sex abuse the right to sue their abusers, and the institutions with which they are or were associated, at any time.

Terlaje said should the federal court deny the motion, the archdiocese would bring a further motion to dismiss directed at the individual claims for relief in the various cases.

Attorney David Lujan, counsel for the plaintiffs, intends to file additional clergy sex abuse cases, Terlaje said.

The archdiocese anticipates filing a motion to consolidate the cases pending in federal court by Friday.

Terlaje said because of the unique nature of the cases, the archdiocese’s report doesn’t follow the required format.

He said the archdiocese and the plaintiffs’ counsels haven’t completed the meet-and-confer process required for the completion of a joint repo

Terlaje also said the parties haven’t exchanged initial disclosures, but said the archdiocese will do so by April 24.

The archdiocese’s filing comes days after Apuron, through attorney Jacqueline Terlaje, filed a motion to dismiss sexual abuse lawsuits filed by four former altar boys who alleged Apuron raped or sexually abused them in Agat in the 1970s.

The Laity Forward Movement announced it will hold a demonstration Easter Sunday, picket calling for Apuron’s removal and defrocking. Apuron is undergoing a Vatican canonical penal trial.

“We will continue picketing until Apuron is removed and defrocked,” said Lou Klitzkie, the movement’s president.

            - Pacific Daily News

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