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No action on sex abuse lawsuits...for now

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No action will be taken on 20 clergy sex abuse lawsuits as well as a defamation lawsuit filed in the Superior Court. At least...for now.

On Wednesday, the local court granted a motion to stay on both matters in light of settlement talks.

"We requested the motion to stay for the same reasons we had in the District Court; hopefully we'll be able to come to a settlement through the mediation process with the victims," said And as Archdiocese of Agana's attorney John Terlaje requested on Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Michael Bordallo granted a motion to stay on 20 clergy sex abuse cases.

The stay is only for 30-days - just enough time to give parties who've expressed willingness to participate in settlement talks time to discuss the processes with mediator, Oregon-based retired federal judge Michael Hogan.

That meeting is scheduled for September 5th in Hawaii followed by Hogan's trip to Guam in late October. "We seem pretty confident, as long as everyone comes in good faith. We think that the settlement will happen," Terjale continued.

Also on a temporary hold in the local courts is a $2 million libel and slander lawsuit against the Church and Archbishop Anthony Apuron. As reported, Apuron fired back after the allegations of child sex abuse were made against him. Via video and press release statements, Apuron defended his innocence and called his accusers liars who were out to destroy the Church.

Apuron's attorney Jacque Terlaje reminded the court she filed a motion to dismiss the defamation lawsuit nearly a year ago without response. She stated, "On our defamation suit, what are grounds are: is that every person has a right to assert their innocence. That they cannot be sued in defamation simply by asserting their innocence."

"The court has ordered the temporary stay - thirty days is not going to be a huge delay in the matter. And that I am pleased with. The court has interest in moving the case forward."

Although he like most of the local judges filed to be disqualified from hearing Church matters due to close ties to the Church, Judge Bordallo was tapped to sit on the cases.

Bordallo, in court today disclosed that his chamber clerk is a close relative to the President of the Concerned Catholics of Guam, David Sablan.

A return hearing is set for September 12.

Parties will then determine how best to proceed.

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