Guam - The Archdiocese of Hagatna has issued a statement in response the Guam Legislature's passage of Bill 34. The measure was staunchly opposed by the Archdiocese because it feels it targets the Catholic Church. The measure, which passed by a vote of 9-6, would open a two-year window for victims of child sex crimes to file a civil action against their perpetrator.
According to a statement from Archdiocese Spokesperson Deacon Jeff Barcinas, Bill 34 does nothing to protect our children. Barcinas stated, "Unlike Bill 33, which the Archdiocese supports because it may prevent future abuse, Bill 34 is focused only on the past."
He went on to state the legislation, even as amended, is "a flawed bill which is vague and may result in unintended consequences. Although lifting the statute of limitations in extreme cases of criminal behavior like murder or the sexual abuse of children is warranted, such actions should only be done with great care and prudence." It goes on to state that Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron has spoken to a number of senators about the Archdiocese's concerns "and also shared the Church's view with the Governor's office." They are hopeful that Governor Eddie Calvo will veto the bill.
The six senators who voted no to the bills passage included Senators Rory Respicio, Dennis Rodriguez Jr, Judi Guthertz, Tony Ada, Frank Blas Jr. and Chris Duenas.