Chief Justice Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ruled that the defense failed to prove a resulting trust existed between the Archdiocese of Hagatna and the rest of the parishes. Instead, what they have is an express trust.
The defense argued that because of the magnitude of the trauma perpetuated by the church, an equally massive penalty must be enforced. The defense argued that because the Archdiocese could not pay restitution with liquid assets–in other words, in dollars–they would have to give up property and the Catholic schools to the survivors of the church.
The lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Hagatna came about as a result of proven allegations of sexual assault perpetuated by the church. One survivor, Leo Tudela, explained how he was raped at the age of 13 by brother-turned-priest Louis Brouillard. Overcome with emotion, Tudela explained how Brouillard came into his room in the dead of night and did “evil things” to him.
By ruling that a bishop is a corporation sole, Tydingco-Gatewood explained that she could not, as the defense wanted, “take a leap of faith” because she was bound by law. She stated that the parishes are therefore not a resulting trust because a corporation cannot hold a trust for itself.
In other words, the parishes and Catholic schools can be used to pay off their debt to their sexual assault victims.
In closing, Tydingco-Gatewood said that there has been some healing in part when Archbishop Michael Byrnes apologized to all the churches victims. Tudela acknowledged this too, saying, “On behalf of the 285, and those who never came forward, I carried the burden, I am the chairman, and I found it very difficult before… But when the bishop said sorry, that turns my pace around. It’s been a long time, and I’d never seen it, for 60 years.”
He said he was relieved that there was finally a resolution, after 5 years.