Guam – It’s been a long time coming for many sexual abuse victims of the Archdiocese of Agana, who, starting today, will participate in a weeklong mediation process with their legal counsels and representatives from the church.
There are over 180 sexual abuse cases filed against clergymen and the Archdiocese of Agana, all of which have surfaced over the last few years. In each case filed with the District court of Guam relief has been requested upwards of $5 million.
As the cases racked up in the federal and local courts, a plan for mediation was developed and after months of grueling deliberations over what mediation protocol would be used, the parties involved were finally able to come to agreement.
This alternative to the litigation process will allow the archdiocese to hear from at least 184 plaintiffs and, with the help of mediator Tony Piazza, reach a fair settlement with each individual.
Attorney Michael Patterson has stated that there are two mediation protocols to be used, one for the cases filed in federal court and another for those filed with the Superior Court of Guam.
Mediation for clients of Attorneys Michael Berman and David Lujan will begin today. Then on the 20th and 21st, Attorney Anthony Perez’s clients will begin mediation followed by Attorney Kevin Fowler’s clients who are set to begin mediation on the 21st.
Mediation is anticipated to last two weeks and if a settlement is reached payout is expected within a 90 day period.
Meantime, the archdiocese says the meetings will be held behind closed doors and the location will not be made to the public to protect the identities of the plaintiffs involved.
The church also announced that it will not be entertaining questions from the public about the mediation discussions or any agreements reached with the individual plaintiffs. However, Spokesman Tony Diaz says they will issue a joint statement at the end of the media series.