Pro­gram to of­fer help to vic­tims of abuse by clergy

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - NEWS -

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.

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