A former altar boy, who alleges he was repeatedly sexually abused, told The Guam Daily Post recently that Archbishop Anthony Apuron paid "hush money" in 2002 when he confronted the Catholic Church leader about the years of abuse he and other altar boys endured.
The victim, who asked that his name not be published at this time because of an unresolved potential legal question, said he was sexually molested by Father Louis Brouillard when he was the priest at San Vicente Catholic Church in Barrigada between 1976 and 1980.
In 2000, after years of holding in his secret and rebelling against any type of authority, the victim said he wanted to “come clean” and met with Apuron about the alleged abuse.
“I told him what happened and he said, ‘You can have a lifetime psychiatrist,’ and told me to see Mr. San Nicolas, a professor out of the University of Guam,” the victim said.
Because Guam, at that time, did not have a law that allowed victims of child sex abuse to take civil action against their abuser, the victim was told he couldn’t sue Brouillard or the church. When he got a lawyer and said he wanted to go to the media and tell his story, the Barrigada man said Apuron offered a settlement.
“(Apuron) didn’t want me to go to the media. I told him I wanted it out in public. They just said they’re gonna pay me $30,000 and shut me up,” he said. “It was hush money because I tried to go back to them again and get more help.”
He received $20,000 while his lawyer received $10,000.
'Boys will always be boys'
The man also told his story to several elected officials, who said they couldn’t help him unless the law changed.
The victim said he was subjected to witness Brouillard walking around the Barrigada Parish Rectory naked, smoking his pipe and drinking alcohol. He alleges he was encouraged by the priest to drink alcohol, and was molested repeatedly when he served as an altar boy and was forced to participate in the Boy Scouts at Brouillard’s direction.
“I was just so confused. (Brouillard) said it was OK to do those things, and that boys will always be boys and it is OK,” he said.
He also alleges that when Brouillard finally left Guam, he took two altar boys who were brothers – who the victim claims were also sexually abused – back with him to Minnesota. The victim said he had personal knowledge of this because the two minor boys were his relatives. “I always see them together in bed with Brouillard. He was always (molesting) them,” he said.
Brouillard, who still resides in Minnesota, signed a statement admitting that he may have sexually abused as many as 20 boys while he served in parishes on Guam and served as Scout Master for the Boy Scouts.
The never-fading scars of abuse
Since 2000, the man has done his best to address the pain and suffering caused by the years of sexual abuse and the impact it had on his life. He recalled that he became homeless at 13 years of age and turned to alcohol and a life of crime because he didn’t know how to cope with the years of abuse.
After confronting Apuron in 2002, he took self-help classes and attended counseling that led him to come forward and tell his story. “It’s so emotional. I must come out to heal myself and to heal others. We are all so ashamed of what happened,” he said. “It’s very painful. It’s so painful the elected leaders knew. You even had cops that knew but they didn’t do nothing. Nobody ever did nothing because the church was powerful.”
He regrets never telling his parents for fear that he would be punished. His parents passed away before he had the chance to tell them the truth about why he turned to a life of alcohol and rebellion.
He recently made an appointment with a Catholic church to report the abuse since multiple lawsuits against Brouillard and other clergy on Guam were filed. “I was told there’s no record of me being abused and that this was the first time they had heard of my name.”
That news enraged the man who said, “They paid me to shut up and then to tell me it never happened? It makes me burn up.”
He said he came forward to encourage other victims that he knows are out there to come forward despite feeling ashamed or embarrassed. “How many people weren’t protected back then? There was nothing, no law to protect us. I want to get cured and I want these other people to get cured.”