Archbishop: Sadness deepens with each victim

SADDENED: Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes said in a statement yesterday, "Our sadness deepens with each new person who comes forward sharing allegations of abuse against clergy or staff of our archdiocese." Post file photo

Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes released a statement expressing sadness and offering prayers to the latest individuals to step forward with claims of decades-old sexual abuses against former Guam Catholic priests and a former parochial school teacher.

"As the designated shepherd of the Catholic Church of Guam, I acknowledge the newest lawsuits and allegations of clergy sexual abuse filed by individuals known by the initials of A.N.D., G.J., and B.J. as well as Mr. Francis Charfauros and Mr. Troy Torres," Byrnes said in a written statement.

"Our sadness deepens with each new person who comes forward sharing allegations of abuse against clergy or staff of our archdiocese," he said. "Any emotions pale, however, compared to the excruciating pain and feelings all victims of abuse suffered and in most cases, continue to suffer."

The archdiocesan statement mentions the accused. Some of the victims came forward only with their initials in lawsuits filed against the archdiocese and other parties. Others used their full names in their lawsuits.

Accused in lawsuits

A.N.D.'s lawsuit alleges he was sexually molested and raped by Father Louis Brouillard in 1975.

G.J. names then-priest Andrew Mannetta as having abused him in 1985 at Santa Teresita Church in Mangilao.

Charfauros alleges he was abused by Capuchin priest Jack Niland, who is now deceased, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the 1980s.

B.J. alleges Brouillard abused him in the 1970s.

Torres alleges teacher Ray Caluag abused him at St. Anthony Catholic School in 1993.

'The evil of abuse'

"I ask all people to continue to pray for them, the individuals who have come forward before them as well as all who have been devastated by the evil of abuse," the archbishop said.

"I again implore all the faithful of Guam to join our archdiocesan-wide efforts to bring hope, healing and restoration to all victims of clergy abuse and ensure the safety of all children entrusted to our care."

The archdiocese has authorized the establishment of its "Hope and Healing" initiative, which among other things provides professional counseling to victims of abuse by clergy or other archdiocesan staff. Hope and Healing may be reached at 1-888-649-5288.

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