HAGATNA, Guam — A lawyer for four former altar boys has filed a new civil lawsuit against the Catholic Church in Guam, Archbishop Anthony Apuron and Father Louis Brouillard over child sexual abuse.
A statement was released by the men’s attorney Tuesday afternoon in Hagatna. Three of the men, now in their 50s, were altar boys in the 1970s under Apuron, who was a pastor at the time. They allege Apuron molested them during sleepovers.
The fourth man, now in his 70s, was a student and former altar boy in the 1950s when he says Brouillard molested him. Brouillard, 95, admitted to The Associated Press in August that he may have molested 20 boys during his time in Guam.
Guam passed a law in September lifting the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits in child molestation cases, and Catholic officials on the island have warned that settlements costs arising from the measure could cause the closure.
The new leader of the Catholic Church in Guam will immediately assume all responsibilities in the archdiocese while its suspended archbishop faces a church trial for allegedly sexually abusing altar boys.
Pope Francis on Monday named Bishop Michael Jude Byrnes, the auxiliary bishop of Detroit, as coadjutor bishop of the Guam archdiocese. Coadjutors have succession rights when bishops resign, retire or are removed.
At a news conference Tuesday, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, the Vatican’s temporary apostolic administrator, said Francis gave Byrnes special rights to carry out all the duties as archbishop effective immediately.
Guam had been under an apostolic administrator since June when Apuron, 71, was relieved of his duties after several former altar boys accused him of sexual abuse. He is facing a canonical trial in the Vatican.