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The trees weren't pressed so hard against the water's edge. That's when everything changed. Sex abuse scandals have roiled archdioceses throughout North America for the last two decades. But only in recent years has the church in this small, intensely Catholic U. The magnitude of the claims is staggering.
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So far, 16 priests have been accused of sexual abuse. About a third of them are deceased and some have left the priesthood. One was defrocked. The church kicked off settlement discussions in Honolulu in September and has compiled a list of dozens of properties to help pay for the costs of the claims. But the lawsuits only scratch the surface of years of political infighting and bitter drama within Guam's Catholic Church that initially triggered many of the charges.
The community has for two decades been split between traditional Catholics and those who follow the Neocatechumenal Way, a branch of the church that works to evangelize lapsed Catholics. About 85 percent of Guam's population is Catholic, a higher percentage than even Italy. And the scandal's impact extends thousands of miles away from the island. Dozens of plaintiffs are spread throughout the U. The Boy Scouts are also named as a defendant in cases involving Brouillard, who was a Scout leader. For some on Guam, the turmoil calls into question what it means to be Chamorro on an island where religion is for many inseparable from indigenous culture.
At the center of the scandal is the highest-ranking Vatican official in Micronesia: Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who has been accused of sexually abusing four boys and is the subject of multiple civil lawsuits. Apuron, once among the most powerful men on Guam, has maintained his innocence and is awaiting the outcome of a secret canonical trial in Rome regarding the abuse allegations.
Even if most cases settle, that won't necessarily bring closure to the plaintiffs. But they still struggle with the pain of recounting the stories to their loved ones for the first time. Faith has helped B.
Download Raped: Memories of a Catholic Altar Boy book
The nightmares never stopped. When his parents heard him screaming about the jungle and river, they worried he was possessed by taotao mo'na , ancestral spirits that live in the trees. They brought him to a suruhana , a traditional Chamorro healer, who said something had happened to B. Like many others who've finally come forward with their claims, B. They were so strict and devout that he was terrified they wouldn't believe him or would punish him. He still considers himself Catholic. Guam has been part of the U. But in many ways, the island feels culturally more similar to former Spanish colonies in Latin America and the Philippines.
Singing and praying along with the group, he carries his granddaughter, who is dressed up like an angel, on his shoulder. Sondia, 54, who works as a technology manager at a local newspaper, grew up in the nearby village of Agat. Catholicism as a half-Filipino, half-Chamorro kid meant going to Mass every Sunday, serving as an altar boy and making the sign of the cross when you pass the church.
It was where he felt safe. Sondia was 15 the night that he and two other altar servers were sleeping in the rectory. He says he remembers Apuron, then a priest at the church, tapping him on his shoulder. He says the priest gestured for Sondia to follow him to the bedroom.
The shock, embarrassment and shame remain raw. He never expected to go public with that secret. Sondia says he started to tear up reading the graphic details. Untalan told Sondia that Denton wanted to go public with the accusations, but he couldn't do it alone. Untalan is president of the Archdiocese Financial Council on Guam, but was temporarily ousted when Apuron dissolved the council in Rohr is an unlikely adversary of the archbishop.
He attends Mass every Sunday in Latin and has 11 children. He used to be on the same side as Apuron. Both fought efforts to legalize abortion and same-sex marriage on Guam. Rohr even opposed a effort to temporarily lift the statute of limitations for sexual abuse victims. The service lasts twice as a long as a typical Mass, with parishioners offering testimonies about their faith and everyone dancing in a circle at the end.
Members include people like Vicky Arriola, a year-old mother of seven, who praises the organization for revitalizing her faith and encouraging her to continue having children, including one with Down syndrome. Paul Gofigan, a popular Chamorro priest in , because Gofigan had allowed a sex offender to work in the church. That only spurred Rohr to speak out more. This map shows where alleged sexual abuse took place throughout Guam.
The pins on this map aren't exhaustive, and are only approximate locations. Zoom out to see where Guam is located. Organizations like Concerned Catholics of Guam and Laity Forward Movement were founded, calling for more fiscal transparency and Apuron's removal. Meanwhile, Rohr was urging the Vatican to get rid of Apuron, blogging frequently about the archbishop's alleged misdeeds. Rohr had heard rumors previously that Apuron sexually abused boys when the archbishop was serving as a priest in Agat. But the alleged victim never came forward.
Toves put Rohr in touch with Denton. He asked the Concerned Catholics of Guam to take out a full-page ad in the Guam newspaper urging victims to come forward. Roy Quintanilla was in Hawaii when he got a call from Sondia, his childhood friend, in spring The two grew up together in Agat and served as altar boys for years. Sondia convinced Quintanilla to fly to Guam and meet with Rohr, Untalan and others to discuss confronting Apuron.
In April , the group met for the first time at Untalan's house to talk about how to confront Apuron. Rohr says he urged the victims to go public with their accusations to help prevent other kids from getting abused. But it was a risky decision. They had no legal recourse and were worried about getting sued for libel. The group enlisted a lawyer and a publicist to help with the announcements.
Like Sondia, Quintanilla is Chamorro and his childhood revolved around the church. Kristine Shuler, according to a Fox 2 local news report. At first, Ishak denies he knows the victim and claims he is being questioned because the priest at St. The Troy detective asked why his fingerprints were found in the boiler room.
Catholic Subdeacon on Trial for Homosexual Assault
Then, Ishak changed his answer, saying he'd been there once. That was pretty much his theme throughout the interview. He indicated that they touched their penises together. Shuler testified that Ishak said the boy approached him while he was in the bathroom.
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Ishak denied claims of penetration, but the boy testified Monday that Ishak "did force anal sex on him," and alleged that Ishak said "he wanted to marry him. One St. Joseph priest said this accusation "was promptly reported to police and Children's Protective Services. George said a woman claiming Ishak sexually assaulted her when she was a teenager over a dozen years ago would give testimony.
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He seemed normal to all of us. Zoma said that some "4, to 5, families call St. All Rights Reserved. The late Rev. Edward B. The diocese has acknowledged that the Rev. Carley, who died in at age 82, abused a young male parishioner during his time as the assistant pastor at St. Ann's Catholic Church, from to Dougherty Jr. Dougherty said Carley raped him when he was years-old and was serving as an altar boy at St. Ann's, and that Carley abused him repeatedly for several years afterward. Douglas J.
McClure, the plaintiff in the lawsuit filed Thursday, was a classmate of Dougherty's. Carley molested McClure two to three times a week over a period of two years, when McClure was between 8- and years-old, said his attorney, Thomas Neuberger.