One of the newest child sexual abuse lawsuits filed yesterday alleges a former Guam priest used his position within the church to molest altar boys from his own parish, and used his post as a Boy Scout troop leader to abuse children from other parishes.
The complaint identifies the plaintiff only as “R.B.” and states the man’s initials are being used “in order to protect his privacy.”
In his complaint, R.B., who currently resides in Hawaii, alleges that in the early 1970s, he and his family were parishioners at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Inarajan, Guam. Because St. Joseph Catholic Church did not have a Boy Scout Troop of its own, R.B. claims that he joined Boy Scout Troop 24, which he alleges was sponsored by San Isidro Parish in Malojloj where former Guam priest Louis Brouillard served as parish priest.
According to Post files, Brouillard served at the Malojloj parish between the late 1960s into the 1970s where he is alleged to have abused at least 16 boys who were either altar servers or members of Boy Scout Troop 24.
R.B. alleges that Brouillard was the Troop leader of Troop 24 and that he used his position as the troop leader to sexually abuse him. For example, R.B. alleges Brouillard would take him and other Boy Scouts on camping trips, and during some of those trips Brouillard would enter R.B.’s tent and sexually abuse him. R.B. claims the abuse occurred in approximately 1972 or 1973, when he was 13 or 14.
During a telephone interview with The Guam Daily Post, R.B. said that while he knew others told people about the abuse, he never did – not even to his own parents.
"During those times back then, I really wanted to tell somebody, but one reason I never did was because my mom was very strict," he said. "If I (were to) tell her – knowing she's a diehard Catholic – I (was) afraid what the outcome was going to be. My mom would probably have punished me like I had never been punished before."
‘Finally, a means to seek justice’
With the passage and signing of Public Law 33-187, R.B., who explained he wasn't about to take the information about his abuse to his grave, said he finally felt like he had a means to seek justice.
"Since the governor signed the law which lifted the statute of limitations, I thought why not – I mean the truth has to come out one way or another," R.B. said.
As with the previous 42 accusers, R.B. claims the Archdiocese of Agana knew or should have known Brouillard was sexually abusing altar boys and Boy Scouts, but did nothing to protect them. R.B. further alleges another boy told a different priest that Brouillard was sexually abusing boys, but nothing was done to prevent Brouillard from continuing to abuse him.
After his experience of abuse by Brouillard, R.B. said he could no longer go to church for Mass or other functions without that memory of abuse resurfacing.
"Every time I go (to church) – whether for (receiving the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine), funerals or weddings – the memory always pops up in my head whether I like it or not – it always haunts me," he told the Post. "I still feel the same now. Whenever I see a man in cloth, it always brings Father Brouillard back to my mind because that was very traumatic for me – it was shocking, scary."
‘Abuse survivors: You are not alone’
Although R.B. filed using his initials, he came forward because he wants other abuse survivors to know that they are not alone.
“People who were abused by Father Brouillard and others need to know they are not alone," he said in a statement released to media. "By coming forward, we can help hold the archdiocese and the Boy Scouts accountable and we can help protect children in the future.”
According to R.B.’s attorney, Kevin Fowler of the Guam law firm of Dooley Roberts Fowler & Visosky LLP, it is likely more lawsuits will be filed where the plaintiff’s identity is protected by using initials or a pseudonym: “We make sure that each person who contacts us knows that we are willing to do whatever we can to protect their identity.”
R.B. is the 43rd plaintiff to come forward and allege abuse at the hands of clergy who were under the authority of the Archdiocese of Agana.