Governor of Guam Eddie Calvo recently signed a bill that would do way with the statute of limitations on child sex abuse civil cases. Now leaders of the Catholic Church in the region are worried that the move could bankrupt the church.
The bill was approved by the legislature after sex abuse allegations surfaced against Archbishop Anthony Apuron.
Church leaders expressed worry that the lifting of limitations will subject the church to “unlimited financial liability,” according to U.S. News. More than three quarters of Guam’s 162,000 residents are Roman Catholic.
Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Apuron allegedly molested “at least” 5 altar boys. He has denied the allegations and no charges have been filed.
From U.S. News:
In response to the allegations, the Vatican appointed Archbishop Savio Hon as temporary apostolic administrator for Guam.
While in Rome discussing the matter, he sent a letter home urging parishioners to sign a petition against the bill. In the letter, which priests read out loud during Mass on Sunday, he promised a canonical trial for Apuron.
Despite that, Hon issued a statement thanking the governor for his action, reiterating a Church apology to sex abuse victims, and pledging funds to help people who have suffered such abuse by clergy.
In an open letter to the people of Guam, Calvo said he was“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,” adding that the bill will open “the doors of justice to those who suffered a terrible harm as children.”