Legal fees for church abuse cases estimated at $1.45 million

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As dozens of church abuse cases in both the District Court of Guam and the Superior Court of Guam are reaching closure through mediation and settlement agreements, the federal court is reviewing how much money is to be paid to the legal counsels involved in the cases.

The estimated cost of legal and professional fees in the church sex abuse cases is estimated at $1.45 million. Because the fees are high, District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has taken the time to review the charges in detail, eliminating duplicate charges, and adjusting the hourly rates of legal counsels.

One of the attorneys present in court was Archdiocese legal counsel John Terlaje.

“It was just going over a petition for fees for legal counsel. And so the court went over it. You can tell the judge went very specifically over detailed accounts. They either agreed to mark down hours or add hours,” Terlaje said.

Today’s focus centered on Archdiocese of Agana Attorney Ford Elsaesser and Bruce Anderson’s charges for services.

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Tydingco-Gatewood indicated that she would approve the adjustments made in court today and hold in abeyance 11 charges related to travel arrangement services.

But the order will not be issued until the two attorneys have time to confer with U.S. Assistant Trustee Curtis Ching and come to an agreement on some of the charges.

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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.