Apuron seeks stay in his case, citing a similar case in lower court

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Former Archbishop Anthony Apuron (PNC file photo)

Former Archbishop Anthony Apuron wants the federal court to stay all movement in his case. The premise of the request is a motion filed by retired GPD spokesman and AJ Balajadia in local court. Apuron’s attorney says this case could result in some if not all the claims against the bishop to be moot.

Bishop Anthony Apuron’s attorney, Jaqueline Terlaje, has filed a motion to stay and a motion for abstention which basically implies that if the US District Court of Guam was to hear the claims against Apuron, the court would be stepping on the toes of the local court where the civil case involving accusations of child sexual abuse against retired GPD officer AJ Balajadia is challenging the validity of P.L. 33-187 and questioning the applicability of P.L. 31-07.

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The local laws remove the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse cases and made it apply retroactively.

Because Terlaje says that the circumstances of the case against Balajadia is identical to Apuron’s case, the federal court should allow the local court to rule on Balajadia’s matter as it involves state policy and resolution.

Terlaje argues that the federal court is required to show restraint in deciding federal questions when state law issues may cancel or narrow the constitutional questions. The issues involved in this case are completely dependent on the validity of state laws because absent those laws the claims against Apuron and Balajadia would have expired according to PL 15-106.

Terlaje states, “In that event, if P.L. 31-07 (2011) and P.L. 33-187 (2016) are declared invalid, or partially invalid, or their applicability defined by the state court, the federal court would not need to adjudicate any claims against Apuron.

Although Terlaje is not challenging the federal court’s jurisdiction she is asking the federal court to wait for a decision to be made in Balajadia’s case stating, “the validity, interpretation, and constitutionality of Guam law involving a retroactive revival of a child sexual abuse statute of limitations is particularly a sensitive state issue.

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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.

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