Archdiocese will file for bankruptcy next week

Archdiocese of Agana (PNC file photo)

Guam – The Archdiocese of Agana has announced it will be filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy next week.

The church first announced its intentions to file for bankruptcy back in November, a few weeks after failing to reach a settlement agreement with scores of sex abuse victims.

Church legal counsel Keith Talbot, stated “What we learned is we weren’t gonna resolve the cases in that format, in that setting, and so we had to look at a different option and the option is bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is the method to deliver the greatest measure of justice to the greatest number of victims.”

Of the nearly 200 cases of sex abuse filed against the church, the mediation only brought monetary settlement to two of the plaintiffs.

Meanwhile, the Sisters of Mercy Guam recently settled six sexual abuse claims against them in District Court, and as a result, those plaintiffs filed voluntary motions to dismiss.

With only eight cases settled, the Guam Catholic Church is turning to filing bankruptcy to meet the amount sought by the scores of victims in the ongoing mediation process. While it has not been disclosed by how much money the Church is short, we do know that in each of the scores and scores of sexual abuse claims, the plaintiff sought $5 to $10 million in damages.

Attorney Ford Elsaesser previously noted that there have been 19 dioceses in the U.S. that have also filed for bankruptcy, and all of them have had a favorable outcome.

The Archdiocese says it will hold a press briefing next week Wednesday, January 16, the same day they will be filing for bankruptcy in District Court.

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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.