An incident in a car with a catechism instructor has haunted a man for the last 27 years, causing him to suffer from severe anxiety attacks, according to a sex abuse civil lawsuit that was filed yesterday in the Superior Court of Guam.

E.M., who used his initials to protect his identity, filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Agana, the Capuchin Franciscans and Brother Vernon Kamiaz.

Kamiaz is identified as a religious clergyman and/or lay brother of the Capuchin Order, who was the instructor for confirmation classes at the Agana Heights parish in 1989 and 1990. The lawsuit seeks to hold him liable for alleged wrongful conduct.

The complaint alleges that when E.M. was 15, and was attending confirmation classes at the Agana Heights parish, Kamiaz began questioning the teen about engaging in sexual relations with his girlfriend.

E.M. told Kamiaz he was not having sex with his girlfriend because she was saving her virginity for marriage, court documents state.

The lawsuit states Kamiaz became "obsessed" with the topic and continued to grill E.M. every opportunity he could and told the boy he could teach him how to "break down" his girlfriend's defenses to have sex.

The teen said he rejected Kamiaz's offers and told him he respected his girlfriend's wishes.

Details of alleged assault

Kamiaz later asked E.M. to go to dinner and E.M. agreed. The victim picked up his confirmation teacher and the two had dinner.

While in the car on the way home, Kamiaz allegedly acted suddenly and grabbed the victim's crotch and began fondling his private parts, and said, "This is how you break down her defenses," court documents state.  

The victim said he grabbed Kamiaz's wrists and tried to pull his hand away while his teacher protested and said, "I'm trying to teach you what to do so you can have sex with her," the complaint states.

After the incident, E.M. said his instructor called him several times a week asking if his "technique" had worked on his girlfriend.

The victim, to this day, reports that he is "deeply embarrassed and ashamed" by what Kamiaz did to him and following the sexual assault, he was afraid to leave his home.

The complaint states E.M. has suffered from "extreme anxiety," frequently visiting the emergency room for severe panic attacks that continue to this day.

E.M. said he also lost a tremendous amount of respect and trust for the church.

Kamiaz is listed as a science teacher at Simon Sanchez High School, according to the Yigo school's website.

The victim's attorney, Anthony Perez, said the actions against his client constitute assault and battery. As a result of the sexual assault, Perez said, E.M. has sustained severe and permanent injuries.

Equitable relief

In addition to damages to be determined at trial, Perez has asked the court to order equitable relief to his client as well as other clients he represents in clergy sex abuse cases.

The equitable relief sought would require the defendants to:

• post the names of all members of the Archdiocese of Agana who are known sexual abusers;

• establish a toll-free number and website where anonymous abuse complaints can be made, and require defendants to encourage victims to report the information to law enforcement;

• adopt a whistleblower policy concerning the method by which a report concerning abuse by clergy can be made;

• make the archbishop or bishop in Guam available, upon reasonable notice, to have a private conference with any survivor of sexual abuse perpetrated by a priest, education, religious or other agent of the archdiocese;

• issue letters of apology; and

• ensure any future settlement related to sexual abuse entered into by the defendants shall not contain any confidentiality provision except at the written request of the settling abuse victim.

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