Church: Guam property should not be sold to pay abuse claims

Church: Guam property should not be sold to pay abuse claims

Church: Guam property should not be sold to pay abuse claims

The former Accion Hotel, most recently used as a seminary, and now up for sale by the Archdiocese of Agana in Guam to settle clergy abuse claims. (Credit: Stock image.)

Guam's Catholic leadership has said parishes and schools should not be sold more than 200 outstanding claims of clerical sexual abuse.

HAGATNA, Guam — The Catholic Church in Guam says parishes and schools should not be sold to settle more than 200 clergy sexual abuse claims.

The Pacific Daily News reported Tuesday that the statement by the Archdiocese of Agana Tuesday was in response to a lawsuit filed by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors.

The lawsuit includes a list of Catholic schools, parishes, vehicles and other assets the creditors believe should be considered archdiocese property and liable for sale.

The archdiocese says parishes and schools are not owned by the archdiocese, but rather held in trust, and that the “trust relationship” is supported by Guam statute.

Guam’s Catholic Church filed for bankruptcy in January, allowing the archdiocese to avoid trial in dozens of child sexual abuse lawsuits and enter settlement negotiations.

At the moment, the Archdiocese of Agana in Guam is waiting for court approval to finalize its sale of the former Accion Hotel for $5.4 million, which will go toward paying out more than 200 clergy sex abuse claims. Because the archdiocese is undergoing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy process, it needs federal court approval before selling assets.

The sale, if approved, would be significantly below the listed price of the property at $7.5 million. The archdiocese is currently paying roughly $6,000 per month on the former hotel in maintenance, utilities and upkeep, according to attorneys for the archdiocese.

Under former Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who was convicted by the Vatican of sexually abusing minors on April 4, the former hotel had been turned over to the Neocatechumenal Way, one of the “new movements” in the Catholic Church, and turned into a Redemptoris Mater seminary. When Apuron was suspended in 2016, the archdiocese closed the seminary and listed the property for sale among “non-essential” assets to be used to settle abuse claims.

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