HAGATNA, Guam — Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron and former priest Louis Brouillard, along with the Archdiocese of Agana, face three new lawsuits alleging child sex abuse, which were filed Thursday afternoon by two former altar boys and by the estate of a deceased former altar boy.
The lawsuits are possible because of a recently passed Guam law that lifts the civil statute of limitations for those accused of abusing children, as well as the institutions that supported them.
Vicente Guerrero Perez, 51, and Bruce A. Diaz, 47, in their separate complaints, said Brouillard sexually abused them for about four years each, from 1976 to 1980, when they served as altar boys and as members of the Boy Scouts of America.
Brouillard, now 95 and living in Minnesota, also served as scoutmaster in the Guam chapter of the Boy Scouts. He was a priest on Guam from the late 1940s to 1981.
The late Joseph “Sonny” Quinata, through his estate administrator Mary Jane Quinata Cruz, also filed a separate lawsuit against Apuron, the archdiocese and up to 50 others.
Quinata’s mother, Edith Doris Concepcion, had said that before her son died 11 years ago, he told her that Apuron molested him when he was an altar boy in Agat in the 1970s. Quinata was 8 or 9 when he was allegedly abused.
Attorney David Lujan represented Perez, Diaz and the estate of the late Quinata.
Each named not only Brouillard or Apuron and the archdiocese as defendants, but also up to 50 other persons who allegedly helped, abetted, concealed or covered up the priest sex abuses.
Through Lujan, the three are seeking an unspecified amount of damages for child sexual abuse, negligence, negligent supervision, negligent hiring and retention, and breach of fiduciary duty/confidential relationship. They each demand a jury trial of six.
Diaz alleged that he was only 8 years old when Brouillard started abusing him in or about 1976 during Boy Scout activities and later on as an altar boy at San Vicente Ferrer and San Roke Catholic Church in Barrigada, where Brouillard was the parish priest.
“The sexual abuse included oral copulation. This happened about four times a week on parish grounds,” Diaz’s complaint reads.
Diaz’s complaint states that among Brouillard’s sexually abusive practices while serving as scoutmaster were weekly outings in which Brouillard would instruct Diaz and four to five other boys to swim naked and entice them with cheeseburgers, milkshakes and fries as a reward, Diaz said.
Diaz, a resident of Barrigada, alleges that other priests and representatives of the Archdiocese of Agana, including Bishop Apollinaris Baumgartner and other defendants, were aware of Brouillard’s sexual abuses.
But Diaz said these other priests deliberately remained quiet and withheld such information from third parties, including his parents and law enforcement authorities in order to protect Brouillard and the archdiocese “thereby placing their loyalty above their duty to protect the minor children and their legal responsibilities.”
On Oct. 3, Brouillard released a signed statement admitting to sexually abusing at least 20 boys, and asked for forgiveness from his victims. Brouillard’s first public admission of his sexual abuses of boys on Guam was in August, during a phone interview with Pacific Daily News.
Brouillard has said the Catholic Church leadership on Guam knew about his actions for decades but he was only told to say prayers as a penance.
Perez, a resident of Sinajana, said he was about 11 when he became an altar boy at San Vicente Ferrer and San Roke Catholic Church in Barrigada.
He said from 1976 to 1980, Brouillard repeatedly sexually molested and abused him on parish grounds.
Perez said after Mass, he and the other altar boys would occasionally go to the parish rectory where they would be subjected to Brouillard’s presence while he’s walking around naked, smoking his pipe, drinking alcohol, and displayed and talked about child pornography. Perez said Brouillard, on many occasions, both in the company of minor boys and privately, encouraged him to drink alcohol and then start to molest him, including oral copulation.
“This happened on numerous occasions,” Perez said in his complaint, adding that upon information and belief, other altar boys observed Brouillard sexually molest and abuse him. Perez said he also saw Brouillard sexually abuse other altar boys.
Perez also said on many occasions, over a four-year period, Brouillard sought and obtained his parents’ permission for him to spend the night at the church rectory so that the priest could sexually abuse him.
He said Brouillard’s sexual abuses extended to Boy Scouts activities. Perez said Brouillard would take him and other boys to weekly outings including at the Lonfit River in Ordot-Chalan Pago and instruct them to swim naked, with hamburgers as rewards. Perez said while they were in the river, Brouillard sexually molested him, including oral copulation.
In or about 1980, Perez said Brouillard moved from the Barrigada parish to the Blessed Diego de San Vitores Church in Tumon and brought Perez with him to serve as altar boy.
“One day in an effort to escape the sexual molestation and abuse, Vicente ran away from the church and never saw Brouillard again,” Perez’s complaint reads.
Perez also believed that other priests, including the bishop at the time, Bishop Apollinaris William Baumgartner, knew about Brouillard’s sexual abuse but kept quiet and withheld information from his parents and law enforcement authorities to protect Brouillard.
In or around 2000 when Perez was about 35, he made an appointment to see Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron specifically to confront the church for his alleged victimization by a priest. At the time, Perez said he continued to suffer deep trauma from his childhood abuse at the hands of Brouillard.
“During the meeting, Vicente told Apuron about the years of his childhood sexual abuse by Brouillard. However, the Agana Archdiocese has never taken any responsibility for Brouillard’s misconduct,” the complaint reads.
Apuron himself is facing a canonical trial at the Vatican over multiple public allegations of sex abuse of minors. Apuron has denied all the public allegations. Pope Francis, on Oct. 31, named a successor for Apuron, 71.
Lujan said earlier the lawsuits are expected to help the church “remove the cancer caused by these pedophile priests and restore the Catholic Church to its rightful glory.”
Total of 7
The Nov. 17 lawsuits filed by Perez, Diaz and the estate of Quinata bring to seven the total number of lawsuits filed in the two months since Guam lifted civil statute of limitations so that child sex abuse victims can sue their abusers and the institutions they’re associated, at any time.
Through Gov. Eddie Calvo’s signing of that law on Sept. 23, Guam became among the first territories in the U.S. to lift all civil statutes of limitations on child sex abuse cases.
The Archdiocese of Agana, in a statement during the filing of the first batch of lawsuits, said it takes the issue of sexual abuse very seriously.
“We are taking specific steps to address this issue, including the establishment of a Victim Support Group and the setting up of a trust fund to address the needs of the survivors of clergy sexual abuse,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
Tudela, now a resident of Hawaii, alleged that Brouillard molested him in the 1950s at the Santa Teresita Church rectory in Mangilao. Denton, now living in Casa Grande, Ariz., alleged that Apuron raped him during a sleepover at a church rectory in Agat in the 1970s. Quintanilla and Sondia accused Apuron of sexually abusing them also in the 1970s when Apuron was the parish priest at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Agat.
Quintanilla, Denton, Sondia and Concepcion also filed a $2 million libel and slander suit against Apuron and the archdiocese allegedly for defaming them when they came forward to accuse Apuron of sexual abuse.
Lujan said earlier that more former altar boys, former Boy Scouts and other child sex abuse victims on Guam will be suing their perpetrators, including more priests, in the weeks ahead.
“It is each victim’s hope that the filings of the lawsuits will bring positive changes in the lives of all victims of abuse resulting in a cleansing and healing of decades-old feelings of fear, embarrassment, shame, hatred, bitterness, blaming of oneself and restore each victim’s dignity and respect,” Lujan said in a statement during the filing of the first batch of lawsuits on Nov. 1.