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Former priest accused of abuse wants day in court

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“Let the chips fall where they will.”

These words by named defendant, Joe R. San Agustin, formerly known as Father Andrew San Agustin.
On Tuesday, the former Catholic priest filed his pro se request for jury trial in the District Court of Guam.

Though mediation is still on the table for majority of the 180-plus clergy sexual abuse cases, San Agustin wants his day in court as soon as possible, stating “mediation implies a compromise based on admission of some guilt - a position I will not acquiesce to.”

Why the rush? His deteriorating health.

Court documents state, “If only I am given the opportunity to be heard in court -- while I am still able to speak on my own behalf before I leave this world. The vast majority of clerical sex abuse cases in Guam is against deceased priests who can no longer speak on their own behalves. Guilty or innocent, they are deprived of speaking for themselves.”

This marks his second request for a trial by jury. San Agustin reports he had answered to the complaint, but his accuser, only identified by her initials as B.T., failed to respond or counter.

He adds, “I am at a loss in terms of figuring out why this case hasn’t been brought to trial. Certainly, Plaintiff has had more than ample time to prepare for trial, considering especially Plaintiff’s assumed certitude regarding the veracity of her allegations.”

San Agustin advises the court that he is without the financial means to afford an attorney and that he relies on public assistance for his sustenance.

If possible, he requests the Court appoint a pro bono defense counsel for him -- or he be forced to represent himself.

KUAM files show San Agustin’s accuser is a 65-year-old woman living in Saipan. She alleges she and her younger sister came to Guam with San Agustin -- who was a priest at the time -- for vacation. San Agustin was employed by the Archdiocese of Agana, but temporarily assigned to Mt. Carmel School in Saipan where he was B.T.'s teacher. While on Guam, she alleges the priest kissed her and touched her privates as well as digitally penetrated her when she was 12-years-old.

B.T. is suing for $5 million.

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