Tangled web of clergy sexual abuse cases moves toward outside mediation; Diocese hires new stateside

Attorneys Patrick Civille, David Lujan and John Terlaje at U.S. District Court

U.S. District Court of Guam Magistrate Judge Joaquin V.E. Manibusan has granted a stay in further action on dozens of Guam clergy sexual abuse cases, in an effort to encourage out of court mediation of the cases.

That was the outcome of a hearing requested by Attorney David Lujan, who represents 76 clients. In his filing with the court, Lujan maintained that what is known as alternative dispute resolution or ADR, would move toward fair and prompt resolution of the cases, while protecting the privacy of his clients, many of whom are elderly and identified in court filings by their initials.

Judge Manibusan heard from, among others, Attorney Lujan representing his clients, Attorney John Terlaje for the Diocese of Agana and Attorney Patrick Civille for the Boy Scouts of America. Joining the discussion by phone were Saipan Attorney William Fitzgerald for retired Bishop Tomas A. Camacho and Attorney Jackie Terlaje who represents Archbishop Anthony Apuron in four cases.

Lujan told the judge that retired Federal Judge Michael Hogan, of Oregon has agreed to serve as alternative dispute resolution mediator in the cases and that in addition to Attorney Terlaje, the Archdiocese of Agana has retained Seattle, Washington-based attorney Michael Patterson as defense counsel for all pending litigation filed against the Catholic Church in Guam (see release regarding Attorney Patterson below).

Lujan said he expected Judge Hogan would by on Guam for the mediation process for about a week in late October.

Rushing out of court and not inclined to trumpet his success in winning the motion, Lujan said there was "no question" that the release of an extensive listing of 'non-essential' properties of the Diocese of Agana would help speed along the mediation process, "I have no idea of the value since we haven't received everything yet. Of course, it's a lot of money, a lot of assets," Lujan said.

[Diocese of Agana News Release]