14th sex abuse suit

FORMER ALTAR BOY: Ramon Afaisen De Plata said that in March 1964 he was a 10-year-old altar boy at Our Lady of Peace and Safe Journey Catholic Church in Chalan Pago when he witnessed Archbishop Anthony Apuron – a seminarian at the time – and another clergy member, Rev. Antonio Cruz, engaging in sexual activity with another 10-year-old altar boy. Post file image

A 14th victim of child sexual abuse has come forward and accused a former Guam priest as the perpetrator.

According to a verified complaint filed in the Superior Court of Guam yesterday, Roman Afaisen De Plata is now the 14th victim suing the Archdiocese of Agana for damages and suffering he endured as a child under the care of church clergy.

Names Cruz as abuser

De Plata’s suit names the deceased Rev. Antonio C. Cruz, and joins the complaint filed by Paul Borja on Nov. 23 as the second to level abuse claims against the now-deceased Cruz.

De Plata, now a 62-year-old resident of Chalan Pago, alleged that he was abused when he was about 10 years old in March 1964, when he was an altar boy at the Our Lady of Peace and Safe Journey Catholic Church in Chalan Pago where Cruz ministered at the time.

Court documents state that Cruz attempted to sexually molest and rape De Plata, by enticing and luring him to engage in acts of sexual conduct which occurred on multiple occasions.

The suit reads: “One night after Mass, during Lenten Week, Cruz sought and obtained permission from the parents (and) guardians of several altar boys, including (De Plata), to spend the night at the Chalan Pago Parish Rectory, where Cruz stayed at the time. During the night at the rectory, (De Plata) witnessed Cruz sexually molest and abuse an altar boy together with a seminarian named Anthony Sablan Apuron, who would later become an ordained priest on Guam and ultimately serve as the Archbishop of the Agana Archdiocese.”

Cruz died in November of 1986 at the age of 62.

This is not the first time De Plata has spoken about the incident with Cruz. He spoke with the Post on Sept. 12 of this year and described multiple instances of abuse perpetrated by Cruz that also implicated Apuron.

'Such hypocritical conduct'

Like the 13 before his, De Plata’s suit also charges up to five unnamed insurance companies that provided liability coverage to the Archdiocese of Agana, as well as up to 45 unnamed individuals who assisted or conspired with Cruz and others within the archdiocese to cover up the abuse.

“Despite the pretense of policies and procedures to investigate and address instances of child sexual abuse by priests, Defendants in fact implemented such policies and procedures for no other purpose than to avoid scandal, maintain secrecy and preserve loyalty to fellow clergy, including child molesting clergy, rather than the protection of children,” De Plata’s suit read. “Such hypocritical conduct by Defendants has served to systematically encourage, perpetuate and promote sexually abusive conduct by priests in the Agana Archdiocese.”

De Plata, through his legal counsel David Lujan, demanded a jury trial of six and requested relief in the form of a sum of damages to be determined at trial to include attorney’s fees.