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No settlement talks just yet

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It looked like prayers were answered. Last week parties appeared optimistic over settlement for dozens of clergy sex abuse cases. Today, talks are at a standstill - at least for one of the accused who awaits his fate from the Vatican.

No talks of settlement just yet. At least not for Archbishop Anthony Apuron. Attorney Jacque Terlaje told KUAM News, "My client is not considering settling any cases until such time the canonical trial is complete."

While he's being sued here at home, Apuron is already being tried in Rome. That outcome, Terlaje says, will be revealed soon. "The canonical trial is ongoing. I've received word that there may be a decision forthcoming but that's always prospective especially when it comes from a completely sovereign nation like the Vatican," she stated.

A canonical trial is kept secret: no judge, no jury. Apuron's fate resting in the hands of the Tribunal, a group of Vatican officials tasked with receiving testimony.  Attorney David Lujan doesn't expect their decision to affect Apuron's local lawsuits.

Apuron is accused of molesting former Agat altar boys, Roy Quintanilla, Walter Denton, Roland Sondia, and Joseph "Sonny" Quinata who is deceased. "I don't think it has any effect. I've never cared for that canonical thing because my role is to sue for money damages," Lujan said. "And so do I care that he's the archbishop or a defrocked one, it doesn't mean anything as far as the alternate dispute resolutio) is concerned."

Said Terlaje, "You'll have to wait and see."

Until the Vatican reaches a decision, Terlaje has noted jurisdiction remains an issue in the federal court. Lujan has until Thursday to serve these documents to her office.

Meanwhile, settlement talks are still underway for the remaining defendants. Lujan noted that he will not be filing a motion to stay until he's received documentation from Hope and Healing Guam. Specifically, copies of the Archdiocese of Agana's insurance policy and the Church's audited financial statements dating back to 2010.

"What is the coverage? We've not yet seen it."

Attorney Michael Capsino of Hope and Healing Guam declined to comment.

A status hearing is set for July 6.

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