Gov. Eddie Calvo has signed into law signed bill 326 into Public Law 33-187, effectively allowing sexual abuse survivors to bring perpetrators and the institutions that protected them to justice. In signing the legislation, Calvo penned a letter of explanation to the people of Guam.
“I am a practicing but imperfect Catholic; a husband, father, grandfather, brother, and son; a Chamorro man, who believes in second chances, yet has no tolerance for those who prey on the most innocent and vulnerable, the children. Thanks to the trust of our people, I’m also the governor. And on days like this, when my different roles may not join in harmonious conviction, I am resolute about this decision. It comes after days of listening to very different opinions, hearing the cries, considering the consequences, separating one issue from another and then reconciling it all within my conscience. So, today, though I am pleased that our community has confronted what once was unthinkable, I am saddened that even a single injustice had to happen in order to make this law necessary. There are no winners. Justice is the only victory.”
Gov. Calvo got it right. In spite of fierce pressure from the Catholic Church in Guam, Calvo kept the interests and welfare of abuse victims foremost in his mind. In signing the bill, Calvo admitted that the retroactivity (survivors can sue their abusers and the institutions that protected them even if the abuse occurred many years ago) section of the bill may face technical and constitutional hurdles.
In lobbying the Governor to veto the bill, the Catholic Church argued that passage of the bill may bankrupt the Archdiocese. However, Calvo remained resolute and brushed aside the Church’s lobbying efforts.
Governor Calvo should be praised for his conviction and his courage. If only some of our own stateside governors would have the same qualities.