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Court dismisses claims against the Vatican in sex abuse case filed in Guam



By Gina T. Reilly


Federal Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood on Thursday dismissed a former Catholic school student’s claims against the Holy See in a lawsuit accusing former Archbishop Anthony Apuron of sex abuse.


The court granted the Holy See’s motion for dismissal, citing “insufficient service of process,” “lack of subject matter jurisdiction” and “lack of personal jurisdiction.”


“The court orders that the plaintiff's claims against the Holy See be dismissed with prejudice,” the court said.


The plaintiff, identified only as D.M., alleged that Apuron repeatedly molested him when he was a freshman student at Father Duenas Memorial School from 1994-1995. The plaintiff, who grew up on Saipan, was about 14-15 at the time.


“Because FDMS did not offer boarding on weekends, arrangements were made for him to stay with Apuron in his personal residence on the weekends, and the plaintiff returned to Saipan about one weekend each month,” according to court filings.


In naming the Vatican long with other defendants, the lawsuit argued that the Archdiocese of Agana, the Capuchins and FDMS “are not independent of or separate from the Holy See but are instead alter ego entities of the Holy See."


Gatewood, however, dismissed the case against the Holy See “because service of process was deficient.”


“While the court does not have personal jurisdiction over the Holy See until proper service by the plaintiff has been made, it would be inefficient to not address the remaining arguments raised in the Holy See’s motion,” the decision reads.

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