Guam – An agreement on the mediation protocol to be used in the sexual abuse cases against the Archdiocese of Guam is still on the drawing board as several modifications have gone back and forth between the parties. While one group of plaintiffs is still not on board, Archbishop Anthony Apuron is now expressing interest in the mediation. Last Friday, a Vatican Tribunal found him guilty of certain accusations stemming from sex abuse claims.
Six months ago, the court had ordered all parties to participate in the mediation process that includes Archbishop Anthony Apuron. According to his attorney Jacque Terlaje she has received the latest version of the mediation protocol and will review it to determine her clients course of action.
“Our participation in mediation has always been about cost that one of the problems that many plaintiffs, that small plaintiffs and small defendants have in a large suit like this is simply the cost factor in litigating 160 different cases,” stated Terlaje.
At this point the court has held a status hearing to deal with potential issues in the mediation protocol which governs how the parties will conduct themselves during the mediation, but still debatable is whether or not all parties are in agreement with the mediation protocol. While Anthony Perez’s clients and Thomas Brown’s client the Sisters of Mercy are still on the fence, the Archdiocese of Agana is ready to move things forward and that the door to mediation for Perez’s clients is still open.
“We are fully prepared to have him participate, he has indicated that we would not budge, but I can tell you that we have revised the pre-mediation protocol numerous times and including last evening with the other three plaintiffs groups and Mr. Perez has not chosen to participate in those discussions but I am willing to meet with him I have told him that. I have certainly intend to meet with him in the next two weeks, to certainly try to work out any differences that he feels are an impediment to his participation in the mediation process,” said Patterson.
Perez represents 11 out of the 163 cases before the courts, and in past interviews he has indicated his concern with a globalized settlement which could leave the victims fighting over money. According to Patterson while each of the cases will be evaluated on its own terms their hope is to reach a global resolution.
“Each of these cases is an individual case, we will be doing evaluations on each of these cases we will be providing that to our client and to the insurance carrier for their consideration,” Patterson explained.
Whether or not all parties get on board with the mediation process will also determine how the court proceeds.
At this time District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood has provided the two options first, that all motions to be withdrawn with exception of Archbishop Anthony Apuron’s which has already been heard. If the motions are withdrawn the parties will be able to re-file the motions if the mediation is not completed. The second option is to stay all motions until after the mediation.
Meanwhile Superior Court Judge Michael Bordallo has requested that Attorney Perez file his memorandum to lift the stay in the local level. If the stay is lifted on the local level then deadlines would be issued in preparation for litigation. Which according to Perez would be a good incentive for all the parties to agree on mediation protocol.
Mediation which was supposed to be held in June has now tentatively been scheduled for Mid-September.