A former Cathedral Grade School student has accused the first Chamorro bishop of the Diocese of Agana of sexual abuse, a civil complaint filed in the District Court of Guam yesterday states.
A.J.R., now 62 years old, and using his initials to protect his identity, filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Agana accusing the late Archbishop Felixberto Camacho Flores of sexually molesting and abusing him when he was 11.
A.J.R. was attending Cathedral Grade School and Flores was a priest at the Agana Cathedral in 1966.
Flores played a prominent role in church affairs and was superintendent of Catholic schools in the '50s, and the victim said students at the school were told to honor and respect nuns and priests and "do whatever" they were told to do.
Details of the incident
The man said that one day after lunch he and other students were instructed to head to the cathedral. On his way he decided to stop at the bathroom and when he was done, he walked toward the cathedral and noticed Flores at the entrance of the Agana rectory calling to him, court documents state.
A.J.R. alleges he and the priest went into the rectory where he said Flores placed his hands on the boy's shoulders and then raised his robe, exposing himself to the boy, the lawsuit states. Flores allegedly put his hands on the boy and tried to pull him closer but the boy kicked Flores in the groin and ran away.
Attorney David Lujan, who represents the victim, accuses the archdiocese of having an "internal society" whose "norms" were based on pedophilic conduct disguised by the rituals and pageantry of liturgical services, the lawsuit states.
Flores was well known for being vocal on social issues, including a 1977 referendum on casino gambling and securing the historic visit of Pope John Paul II to Guam in February 1981, according to the Archdiocese of Agana. He died from heart-related issues on Oct. 25, 1985.
Three Chamorro bishops — Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, Bishop Tomas Aguon Camacho of Saipan and Archbishop Flores — have all been accused of child sexual abuse, and Flores was instrumental in the other bishops' promotions.
Flores was archbishop when he ordained Bishop Camacho at the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Chalan Kanoa, Saipan, in January 1985. Camacho retired at the age of 76, and was recently named in a civil complaint accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
Apuron was ordained as a priest at the Agana Cathedral in 1972 by Bishop Flores and was installed as Flores' successor as the first Chamorro Capuchin archbishop in 1986.
The lawsuit against the church seeks $5 million in damages.