Three off-island law firms that have partnered with local attorneys are expected to file lawsuits in the coming weeks alleging sexual abuse by members of the clergy.
The law firms of James, Vernon & Weeks based out of Seattle, Washington, and Rosenberg McKay Hoffman out of Honolulu, Hawaii, have partnered with local attorney Anthony C. Perez. The law firm of Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala partnered with local law firm Dooley Roberts Fowler & Visosky.
The firms have published numerous print advertisements offering free and confidential consultations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse in Guam.
James, Vernon & Weeks’ website indicates the firm along with co-counsel Randall Rosenberg, out of Hawaii, have represented hundreds of child sexual abuse victims.
Attorney Perez confirmed that they intend to file actions in the next couple of weeks. Seattle-based Attorney Michael Pfau is also expected to file lawsuits alleging childhood sex abuse in Guam.
The anticipated lawsuits are separate from 22 civil actions filed in the District Court of Guam by victims represented by attorney David Lujan, accusing members of Guam’s clergy of sexually abusing them when they were children in the 1960s and '70s.
'The perfect blackmail situation'
The sexual abuse allegations have been lodged against Archbishop Anthony Apuron, Bishop Emeritus Tomas Camacho of the CNMI, Louis Brouillard and other clergy who worked under the Archdiocese of Agana in Guam.
On the law firm's website, attorney Lee James noted that there is a probable reason why a priest like Brouillard could abuse boys over such a long period of time.
“This creates the perfect blackmail situation. The archbishop (Apuron) isn’t going to out these pedophile priests, for fear that he will also be outed,” James said.
In 2012 Pfau obtained an $8 million jury verdict against a Catholic religious order, which is believed to be the largest verdict of its kind in Washington state, according to the Pfau Cochran Vertetis Amala website.
Over the last decade, Pfau has recovered nearly $100 million for his clients in lawsuits against the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, the State of Washington, the Boy Scouts of America and other institutions responsible for child sex abuse.
The civil actions against the Archdiocese of Agana seek $110 million in damages, and Lujan has said that he anticipates filing another dozen lawsuits as he represents other victims of sexual abuse when they were altar boys or attended Catholic schools in Guam.