Guam’s senators overwhelmingly passed Senate bill 326 with 13 yes votes and two excused absences. The bill will now go to the Governor’s office for signature.
The senators took up the bill in response to recent sexual abuse allegations against Guam Catholic priests and the local archbishop Anthony Apuron. Several men have come forward alleging Apuron molested them when they were altar boys at Mt. Carmel Church in Agat where he had served as a priest. These same men testified in support of the bill when it had its public hearing.
Pope Francis placed the archbishop on leave soon after the sexual abuse allegations were made against him.
Guam Catholics continue to come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against Catholic priests serving in Guam. As in other dioceses, the priests and archbishop who have been accused maintain their innocence.
On September 4th, approximately 80 sexual abuse advocates and survivors gathered in front of Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Hagåtña to protest the Catholic Church’s handling of the sex abuse crisis in Guam. Members of the Concerned Catholics of Guam (CCOG), Laity Forward Movement (LFM) and Silent No More joined the gathering.
Lou Klitzke, a member of LFM, told the Post that protester turnout has been steadily increasing over the past few weeks.
“Everybody keeps coming out,” she said. “We have a very dedicated group of people.”
If you or a loved one has been abused by a Catholic priest in Guam, please contact Saunders & Walker today for a free consultation.