Priest barred from celebrating mass, hearing confessions while investigation of two cases proceeds
[Update: Another clergy/child abuse lawsuit filed Wednesday]
Father Adrian Cristobal (Photo: Umatuna Si Yu'os)
The Archdiocese of Agaña acknowledges the newest lawsuit and allegation of clergy sexual abuse naming Father Adrian Cristobal this week.
In the lawsuit filed against the archdiocese and Father Adrian on Monday, a person identified by the initials J.C.C. alleges he was sexually abused by Father Adrian between 1995 to 2013 at sites such as San Vicente Catholic Church and San Vicente school in Barrigada as well as Our Lady of Purification Catholic Church in Maina.
It is the second allegation of sexual abuse against Father Adrian in less than a month. In a lawsuit filed on April 10, a person by the initials of L.J.C. alleges the priest sexually abused him at San Vicente parish sometime at about 1995 to 1997.
Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes limited the faculties of Father Adrian as a priest as part of precautionary measures related to the first allegation, effective April 11. He cannot celebrate Mass publicly or hear confession while the case is being reviewed.
According to the Archdiocese, Father Adrian remains off-island, though permission for him to be in mission at the Diocese of Phoenix [Arizona] was rescinded April 11 and the archdiocese has sent repeated directives to him to return home immediately. Any clergy member who continues disobedience after a warning is subject to penalties or sanctions per Canon 1371, Section 2 CIC.
The archdiocese conducted a preliminary investigation related to the first allegation of sexual abuse against Father Adrian in accordance with its strengthened sexual abuse policy. The findings have been forwarded to the Independent Review Board. The board is not involved in conducting the investigation. Instead, the Independent Review Board serves as a confidential, consultative body. Its duty is to objectively review the findings of investigations and advise the archbishop in his assessment of allegations of sexual abuse of minors.
The archdiocese extends prayers for J.C.C., L.J.C and all persons who have come forward recently and in the past with claims of sexual abuse by Guam Catholic clergy or lay persons. Prayers are included for persons identified by the initials of J.C.M., F.S., and T.A.J. At the end of April, J.C.M. and F.S. filed lawsuits alleging they were sexually abused by Father Louis Brouillard in the late 1960s. T.A.J. alleges he was sexually abused by former priest and now deceased Raymond Cepeda in the mid-1980s.
Archbishop Byrnes also offers prayers for an individual identified by the initials C.A. In a lawsuit filed in late April, C.A. alleges that the late Capuchin friar, Father Daniel Cristobal sexually abused him on or about 1979.
[Update: "In a lawsuit filed Wednesday, a person with the initials A.A. alleges that he was sexually abused by now deceased Priest Father Antonio Cruz, layman James Untalan and an altar server while he was an altar server at Saint Anthony Parish in Tamuning in the 1980s. Archbishop Byrnes extends prayers for A.A. and all other persons who have come forward recently and in the past with claims of sexual abuse by Guam Catholic clergy or laypersons. He asks all Catholics to be ever vigilant in our duty to protect all children entrusted to be care of the Church."]
The archdiocese takes all allegations of sexual abuse very seriously. Under Archbishop Byrnes, the archdiocese has revamped and strengthened its sexual abuse and sexual misconduct policy. Now aligned with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) stringent Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, its new policy includes mandatory on-line training of all clergy, employees and volunteers on the protection of all children entrusted to our care. Persons who work directly with or supervise youths are also required to undergo a background check.