Guam - The island's Catholic Church today came out against a bill that would remove the statute of limitations for victims of child sexual abuse to file a civil action. Deacon and Archdiocese of Agana Spokesperson Jeff Barcinas said the measure targets the Catholic Church and is a window measure similar to laws that were passed in California years ago that lead to a flurry of lawsuits filed against the church there.
He announced, "Yes, protecting all children is a necessary priority; however, this proposed window legislation it does not protect children. Its primary function is not about child protection but retroactively reviving time barred claims and providing monetary damage to individuals well into middle age and beyond." Barcinas added the Church has several policies and procedures in place to help child victims of sexual abuse and neglect.
Unfortunately for Jonathon Diaz, he claims he was never helped. He testified he is a survivor of catholic clergy sexual abuse on Guam. "I'm sorry to shatter the glass menagerie, but as I sit at home thinking about the repercussions of such atrocities on our island, I cannot in good faith move forward knowing full well what happened to me in a Catholic Church on Guam. There are others," he said.
Diaz said others would come forward if the measure is passed, while Barcinas said efforts to protect children from abuse should be focused more on providing more support to Child Protective Services, the Attorney General's Office and the Guam Police Department.