A 14-year-old altar boy who aspired to be a priest in the early 1980s is the latest victim to come forward alleging sexual abuse by a member of the clergy.
Francis Charfauros, who now resides in Arizona, filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Guam against the Archdiocese of Agana and the Capuchin Franciscans accusing the late Father John "Jack" Niland of sexually abusing and molesting him when he was a young boy.
The civil complaint, filed by Charfauros' attorney David Lujan, alleges the abuse happened when Niland was assigned to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Agat under then-Father Anthony Apuron.
Niland became a Capuchin in 1967 and was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1976, court documents state.
In 1982, Charfauros aspired to become a priest and consulted with Father Niland, who advised him on how to become a priest. Niland proposed that Charfauros work for him at the Agat parish and agreed to pay him on a weekly basis and promised him a full scholarship to attend Father Duenas Memorial School, the complaint states.
The boy's parents gave permission for him to work at the Agat parish and Charfauros became responsible for making preparations for Mass.
Later that year, Niland suggested that Charfauros live at the Agat rectory since it was closer to school and it would be more convenient for the boy to help around the church. Charfauros said he was "excited and eager" to learn first-hand about the priesthood and live at the rectory to learn the "ways of being a priest."
Claims of sex abuse, molestation
Charfauros alleges during the time in which he lived with Niland, he was sexually abused and molested. On one occasion the boy awoke to the priest sexually abusing him. The complaint states he tried to get up but the priest allegedly held him down leaving him "disturbed, confused and terrified."
The boy left the rectory and went home and no longer had any interest in the priesthood, the lawsuit states.
Niland died in 2011 at the age of 59.
The complaint accuses the archdicoese and the Capuchins of negligently continuing to retain Niland in service as a Capuchin priest, which enabled him to continue engaging in sexually abusive and predatory behavior.
The suit seeks a minimum of $5 million in damages.
According to capuchin.org, Niland served on Guam for 23 years from 1976 to 1999, and served in Agat and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Santa Rita and San Luis Bautista in Ordot. He then served in Hawaii as the pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel in Pearl City from 1998 to 2008.