Program to offer help to victims of abuse by clergy
HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Guam Catholics said they are in support of a program that offers professional counseling, treatment, spiritual healing, compensation and justice to victims of sex abuse by clergy on Guam.
Concerned Catholics of Guam President David Sablan on Monday said he was in favor of the Hope and Healing Guam program.
“We support the approach that Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes is taking in helping clergy sex abuse cases,” Sablan said. “We also appreciate the efforts of others who help provide healing to the victims.”
The Archdiocese of Agana is facing 50 clergy sex abuse lawsuits. At the same time, Concerned Catholics of Guam is pushing for the removal and defrocking of Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who was accused of sexual abuse by former altar boys and the mother of a deceased altar boy. Byrnes replaced Apuron in November.
While the plaintiffs and their counsels settle the matter in court, Hope and Healing invites people to receive spiritual and mental therapy.
Though the program is funded through the archdiocese, it will be administered by an independent body. California-based attorney Michael Caspino serves as the program’s executive director and will assist its independent board of directors.