21 Sep 2016

Guam's Catholic Church warns abuse lawsuits would threaten services

12:45 pm on 21 September 2016

The Catholic Church in Guam says it would be bankrupted by legislation allowing lawsuits in historical sex abuse cases.

Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in Guam

Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in Guam Photo: 123rf

Last week, the Guam Legislature approved a bill removing the statute of limitations for civil action in such cases.

But the Church launched a petition calling on Governor Eddie Calvo to veto the bill.

A string of abuse allegations had been made against its Archbishop and other clergy members.

Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron

Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron Photo: Pacific Daily News

In a media conference posted on the Pacific Daily News website, Father Jeff San Nicholas warned lawsuits could threaten the Church and the services it funds.

"Dioceses in bankruptcy have to make big sacrifices to fund the child abuse lawsuit settlements. Each diocese scrambles to keep the churches and schools open."

Father Jeff also said the Church was not trying to protect child sex abusers, but bankruptcy would be inevitable if the bill becomes law.

The Governor had until Friday to sign the bill.

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