As Guam holds public holds public hearings to consider Bill 326 which would lift the statute of limitations on survivors who are coming forward to publicly reveal cases of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, more victims are courageously testifying in support of the bill.
One media outlet wrote, “Guam is on its way to becoming the first U.S. territory to allow victims of child sex abuse to sue their perpetrator at any time, without restriction, on retroactive cases. As of Friday, there was no opposition to a bill that would remove time restrictions for suing child sex abusers. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled to resume Monday.”
During public testimony, 73-year-old Leo Tudela offered emotional testimony.
“While I was staying at the Capuchin Fathers Monastery in Agana Heights, one night in the early morning hours, I was awakened by someone touching my private area, my penis, and massaging and masturbating me,” he recalled, tearing up repeatedly. “He told me, ‘It’s okay. I’m Brother Mariano.’ I told him to please leave me alone, but he continued to do what he was doing. When Tudela told a member of the church, Tudela was moved to another church and introduced to Father Louis Brouillard. Brouillard invited Tudela to the Santa Terisita Church in Mangilao. Because the church sponsored the Boy Scouts, all altar boys were required to join – that’s where he met his second alleged perpetrator, a high-ranking member of the church. Over six decades after the alleged incident, Tudela can only remember the man’s name as “Ignacio.” while on a camping trip on a Yona beach, Ignacio allegedly forced the boys to masturbate.
“He told us to take our pants down and start playing with our penis to masturbate,” he said, again pausing to cry.
On a third occasion, Tudela alleges he was sleeping when he was touched by Father Louis. “I looked up and saw Father Louis sitting to my left and told me, ‘It is okay. You will feel good and don’t worry about anything.’ I was shocked and felt very uncomfortable. I was shaking, scared, and started to cry. I was totally embarrassed and ashamed of what Father Louis was doing to me. He was supposed to be a man of God,” he shared.
In addition to four allegations of sexual abuse against the suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron, there are now three other priests who stand accused of sexual abuse.
“We cannot continue to expect the church to fix itself in this regard,” Chalan Pago resident Gerard Taitano told senators on Thursday. “We must hold child sex abusers and their enablers accountable for their actions. Serious moral, legal and ethical questions arise whenever a prosecutor cannot adequately indict child sex predators or their enablers.”
Image courtesy of cruxnow.com
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