The Archdiocese of Agana’s former chancellor has been named in a civil complaint filed in the District Court of Guam as the alleged abuser of a then- altar boy.
Rev. Adrian Cristobal is accused of sexually molesting and abusing the former altar boy between 1995 and 1997 at the San Vicente/San Roke Catholic Church in Barrigada.
The former altar boy, who used his initials L.J.C. to protect his identity, is represented by attorney David Lujan, who filed the lawsuit Tuesday.
The lawsuit alleges the first incident of sexual abuse occurred when L.J.C. was 12. Cristobal summoned the boy into his office and scolded him for his shirt being untucked during Mass, the lawsuit states.
Cristobal allegedly instructed the boy to undo his pants to show him how to properly tuck in his shirt. The complaint alleges the priest grabbed the boy’s genitals and asked, “Do you like that?”
Cristobal is accused of masturbating the boy and again asking him, “Do you like that?” the lawsuit states.
L.J.C. pushed the priest away and ran out of the office all the way home, the lawsuit alleges.
After the incident, Cristobal allegedly would hug and caress L.J.C.’s ears whenever he saw him, making the boy “very uncomfortable.”
During a retreat at a private beach in Ipan, L.J.C. recalled certain priests, including Cristobal, staying in one big tent and altar servers staying in several small tents. He remembers Cristobal summoning the boys one by one into the big tent, and when his name was called, L.J.C. refused to go in but recalled hearing some of the boys saying, “Stop. You’re hurting me!” the complaint states.
After the retreat, L.J.C. noticed that some of the altar boys stopped coming to church and serving during Mass.
The last incident of sexual abuse allegedly occurred after L.J.C. finished serving Mass for a funeral and was changing his clothes. He alleges Cristobal came into the room, locked the door and allegedly squeezed the boy’s genitals so hard it caused L.J.C. to be in extreme pain, the lawsuit states.
The complaint states L.J.C. quit being an altar boy because he was unable to handle the pain, humiliation and embarrassment inflicted upon him. The boy kept silent about the abuse but began acting out as a cry for help.
The lawsuit seeks $5 million in damages.
Cristobal, who is still listed as a priest under the Archdiocese of Agana’s clergy directory, is described as being “on mission.”
Last year, Concerned Catholics of Guam President David Sablan questioned the archdiocese’s decision to send Cristobal to study canon law in Canada. The organization accused Cristobal of mismanaging and being untruthful about the use of Chancery funds and the seminary and alleged the assignment was a “reward for his misdeeds.”
In 2017, in a letter to Archbishop Michael Byrnes, Sablan accused Cristobal of blocking people from speaking with then-Archbishop Anthony Apuron about sexual abuse. “Cristobal prevented them from actually discussing it with the archbishop, in effect violating their own policy. So, he really wasn’t following any of the rules on trying to protect the victims ... with sexual abuse,” Sablan told The Guam Daily Post. A Vatican tribunal has found Apuron guilty of certain deeds. Apuron was accused of molesting Guam altar boys when he was a priest decades ago.
Cristobal was the archdiocese chancellor under Apuron and was considered an extension of Apuron’s leadership, Sablan stated.
The CCOG president believes Cristobal is “pretty much removed” from the archdiocese after he left Guam after ignoring a direct assignment from Byrnes to work at the San Dionicio parish in Umatac in 2017.