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Church apologises for abuse of alter boys

Saturday 6 August 2016 | Published in Regional


GUAM – Guam’s Catholic Church has apologised to victims of a former priest who told local media on Thursday that it was “possible” that he abused altar boys there in the 1950s.

On Monday, Leo Tudela, 73, told senators that Father Brouillard and two other church members sexually abused him when he was an altar boy in Guam starting in 1956. He was speaking at a public hearing on a bill that would lift a statute of limitations that prevents lawsuits being filed for historical abuses.

Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai issued the statement of apology after Father Louis Brouillard, 95, told the media he regrets the abuses and was seeking forgiveness from his victims.

“With the news that Father Louis Brouillard, a priest who served on Guam confessed to having abused altar boys on Guam in the 1950s, I convey my deepest apologies and that of the entire Church to Leo Tudela and all other persons who were also victimised,” Archbishop Hon said.

The Vatican sent Archbishop Hon to Guam in early June to temporarily oversee the local Catholic Church after allegations from four former altar boys against the clergy, specifically Archbishop Anthony Apuron, surfaced in May.

In an interview with the Pacific Daily News, Father Brouillard said he did not remember an altar boy named Leo Tudela, but said, “I’m sorry if I in any way hurt him. I didn’t want to do that and see him like that.”

In his statement, Archbishop Hon said: “We are very sorry for what they experienced then, and the tremendous pain they still carry today.”

“The Church on Guam has a duty and desire to render pastoral care to all of its faithful, most especially those who have been severely wounded by those holding trusted positions in our Archdiocese,” he added.

Archbishop Hon said the Archdiocese of Agana’s sexual abuse response coordinator, Deacon Leonard Stohr, had been directed to contact Tudela.

Tudela is the latest in a growing number of former island altar boys who have accused members of the local Catholic Church of sexual abuse.

Most of the recent accusations have been directed at Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who was temporarily removed from running the archdiocese’s operations as the Catholic Church investigates the allegations against him.