Guam clergy sex abuse survivors may receive payments in 2020

HAGATNA, Guam — Guam’s clergy sex abuse survivors could begin receiving compensation from the Catholic Archdiocese of Agana in the first half of 2020, officials said.

A federal judge has given the archdiocese more time to calculate payment amounts to nearly 280 clergy sex abuse survivors and other claimants, The Pacific Daily News reported .

The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2019 following clergy sex abuse claims totaling more than $1 billion. The archdiocese listed nearly $23 million in assets and $45.6 million in liabilities at the time of the bankruptcy filing.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood granted an archdiocese request for a second extension of a deadline to file a reorganization plan and disclosure statement to Jan. 16, 2020.

Victims and church officials are scheduled to go into mediation beginning Oct. 30, with a church reorganization plan to follow, officials said.

The archdiocese hopes the mediation “will be successful and a plan of reorganization will be created which will reflect the settlement and the parties’ intent going forward,” church officials said in a statement.

The committee representing abuse survivors and other claimants did not object to the extended deadline. If mediation fails, the abuse lawsuits could go to trial.

More time is needed to deal with the “moderately complex and large case,” church attorneys said.

The judge gave the archdiocese until March 16 to obtain the approval of its repayment plan from the committee representing survivors.

The plan includes the archdiocese’s offers for restitution to abuse survivors and other claimants, while allowing continuous operations of all Catholic parishes, schools, ministries, and other programs.

Guam lifted its statute of limitations for child sexual abuses in 2016, paving the way for claims to be filed.

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