While mediation discussions in more than 100 child sexual abuse cases was expected to begin as early as next month, the parties have agreed that it will take additional time to complete the discovery and prepare for that to happen.
A stipulation was filed in the District Court of Guam yesterday by attorneys John Terlaje and David Lujan, on behalf of the Archdicoese of Agana and plaintiffs, respectively.
'More realistic' time frame
They informed the judge that the parties are discussing a "more realistic" mediation time frame of March 2018.
The parties are also still discussing and evaluating who they will choose as the mediator.
Retired federal Judge Michael Hogan, of Oregon, had agreed to mediate the cases but concerns had been raised that he could cost as much as $10,000 per day. There is also discussion of using Senior Judge Alex Munson as a mediator.
The parties intend to reach an agreement on who will lead the mediation efforts by Sept. 26.
The archdiocese, the Boy Scouts of America, the plaintiffs and numerous defendants in more than 100 child sexual abuse cases have agreed to participate in mediation in hopes of reaching a resolution to the cases without going to trial.
Opposition from Apuron
Suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron has vehemently opposed participating in any mediation or settlement discussions as he has pending motions to dismiss the cases, alleging the law that allowed the lawsuits to be filed is "inorganic" and "unconstitutional."
Apuron is also awaiting the results of a Vatican tribunal into allegations that he sexually abused four altar boys while he was a priest in the 1970s, and allowed the sexual abuse of other children during his time as the leader of the Catholic Church on Guam.