Mediation begins for over 180 church sex abuse victims

Archdiocese of Agana (PNC file photo)

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.

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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.