Guam memorial Mass for bishop set for March 13

MEMORIAL MASS: The Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica is shown in this file photo. The Archdiocese of Agana will celebrate a memorial Mass on March 13 to coincide with the funeral Mass for retired Bishop Tomas Camacho on Saipan. Post file photo

Judge Joaquin Manibusan of the District Court of Guam granted a motion to stay for the vast majority of the 76 sex abuse cases against the local archdiocese and the Boy Scouts of America on Friday.

Counsels representing the victims, the Archdiocese of Agana, the Boy Scouts of America and suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron were present at a status hearing yesterday.

The motion to stay prevents the filing of new documents while the archdiocese and the Boy Scouts of America attempt to reach some sort of resolution – monetary or otherwise – with the many victims in the cases.

Attorney David Lujan revealed recently that retired federal Judge Michael Hogan, of Oregon, had agreed to serve as a mediation judge between the plaintiffs and the two main defendants in the cases.

'No later than late October'

Lujan has said that the mediator will mediate each claim individually and then develop a formula to determine a dollar value based on the evidence presented in each case.

"How do you put a monetary amount to the abuse? They will need to take into account the age of victim, length of abuse, the effects of the abuse, the number of times and more," Lujan told The Guam Daily Post. "In any case, it's my goal to have all of these cases mediated no later than late October, especially since many of my clients are in their late 70s."

Counsels for the defense have also agreed to Hogan's involvement settling disputes, with the first round of mediation to run from Oct. 30 to Nov. 3.

Lujan expects that other cases, which haven't yet been filed in court, will be covered in the mediation process as well, while the Boy Scouts of America, through defense attorney Patrick Civille, retain the right to opt out of the motion to stay at a later date.

To date, Lujan's clients are seeking no less than $530 million in damages, Post files state.

'Non-essential' properties

The church recently announced that it had identified 41 properties it deemed "non-essential" that could be sold to go toward the pending lawsuits. Lujan said he has requested a list of all of the church's mortgages and expects to get that "any day now."

Parties are expected in court again on Aug. 7.

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