By Pacific Island Times News Staff
The Archdiocese of Agana and the Creditors’ Committee, which represents the clergy sex abuse survivors, have reached a consensus that would settle the lawsuit against the church.
Archbishop Michael Byrnes said lawyers for the church and the committee reached an agreement "in principle" during a meeting in the District Court of Guam Friday.
"Dates for the next steps were also discussed with all affected parties, but we are overall very pleased and grateful for the incredible progress," Byrnes said.
Details of the settlement agreement were not currently available.
"Most significantly, we are happy for the victim-survivors that they can move closer to this important measure of justice and compensation. We thank all our parishes, schools, Catholic cemeteries, and others who contributed to and made profound sacrifices to reach today’s milestone," the archbishop said in a statement.
The church faced civil suits from nearly 280 individuals who alleged they were raped and molested by priests and other members of the clergy from the 1950s to as late as 2013.
Chief Federal Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood earlier said the sex abuse lawsuit has incurred a total of $5.6 million in legal expenses alone over three years.
In December, the archdiocese, which filed a bankruptcy case in 2019, proposed a $36 million payment plan to compensate the church abuse survivors.
In a landmark decision that ultimately lifted the disputed properties’ shield from claims against the church, Tydingco-Gatewood ruled last month that parishes and Catholic schools are owned by the archbishop of Agana.