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Last updateSat, 19 Aug 2017 12am

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    Saturday, August 19, 2017-3:15:15A.M.

     

     

     

     

     

On Guam, claims against church exceed $530M

HAGÅTÑA (The Guam Daily Post) — The last few weeks have seen a momentous development in Guam’s clergy sex abuse crisis when the attorney representing more than 80 percent of the alleged victims told a federal court judge he intended to put the cases on hold as he and his clients entered into settlement talks with Hope and Healing Guam.

This brief reprieve was shaken somewhat last week when, during a status conference before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joaquin Manibusan, attorney David Lujan told the court he was unable to file his motion for a stay until the Archdiocese of Agana provides him with copies of its insurance policy and audited financial statements stretching back to 2010.

These signals of potential settlement talks come at a time when, since the start of this month, damages being sought by accusers of clergy abuse, as filed in federal and local courts, now exceed half a billion dollars.

As of the latest case filings on June 2, total minimum damages from the 76 pending cases come out to $530 million, and the total does not yet take into account 13 cases pursuing damages in amounts to be proven at trial. With the Archdiocesan Finance Council reporting net book assets at about $132 million, which includes churches and schools under the archdiocese, Guam’s Catholic Church now finds itself facing claims that easily surpass its current assets by more than four times.

Some of the cases also name the Boy Scouts of America and certain past troop leaders, from decades ago, as defendants in the claims.