Suit: Church wine used on victim

LINKED TO ABUSE: Father Duenas Memorial School, shown in this March 16 photo, is the latest location to be connected to the ongoing child sex abuse scandal involving the Catholic Church in Guam. David Castro/The Guam Daily Post

A 70-year-old Father Duenas Memorial School alumnus filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Guam alleging he was sexually abused and molested by his former teacher after being served church wine in the rectory of the Our Lady of Peace and Safe Journey Church in Chalan Pago during Holy Week in 1962.

William Payne alleges that former FD instructor and priest Father Antonio C. Cruz offered to give him driving lessons and then made him drink church wine in the rectory until he became mildly intoxicated when Payne was 15 years old, court documents state.

The lawsuit alleges that Cruz, who was Payne's Algebra and Spanish instructor, told him, "You're one of my good students, I like you," and then proceeded to molest Payne despite his efforts to make him stop before driving him back home.

'A state of utter shock'

Payne was in "a state of utter shock, fear and confusion in that Cruz was forcibly abusing him, and during Holy Week," the lawsuit states.

Court documents state that Payne was ashamed and angry about what happened and was afraid to tell his parents about the incident, as he was raised to honor and respect the clergy who were "never wrong."

Payne later learned that Cruz demeaned him to one of his friends who the priest also attempted to sexually abuse after allowing the teen to drive a car. The teen was humiliated and resented that Cruz acted like "what he had done to (him) was nothing." He avoided Cruz as much as possible in school.

The lawsuit alleges that Cruz threw a book at him for no reason on a couple of occasions and Payne no longer wanted to attend school. Despite not putting in any effort to get good grades, Cruz still gave them to Payne.

The next year, Cruz was reassigned to another school and he died in November 1986 at the age of 62, court documents state.

The lawsuit alleges that other priests and representatives of the Archdiocese of Agana, including Bishop Apollinaris Baumgartner, were aware of the sexual abuse committed by Cruz and "deliberately remained quiet."

'Systemic and ongoing pattern' of abuse

Payne, through his legal counsel Attorney David Lujan, alleges that there was a "systematic and ongoing pattern of sexual abuse of young boys (that) was characteristic of an internal society within the Agana Archdiocese and whose norms were based on pedophilic conduct disguised by the rituals and pageantry of liturgical services," the lawsuit states.

Additionally, Lujan contends that sexually predatory norms were an "integral part" of the standards and culture generated by the Roman Catholic Church based in Italy that closely controlled the operations of the Archdiocese of Agana.

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and $5 million in damages.


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