Wednesday, 08 March 2017

Archdiocese moves to aid sex abuse victims; Reveals $132M in assets

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The Archdiocese Finance Counsel held the first of several press conferences to discuss church finances in the wake of multiple clergy sex abuse lawsuits. 

Guam - The Archdiocese of Agana has set up a fund created to help the victims of clergy sexual abuse. But, chairman of the newly-created archdiocese finance council said, the church is hurting financially, and has begun to liquidate assets to help recover from the multiple lawsuits facing the church.


 “What I’d like to present to you today is the establishment of a fund to aid victims of child sexual abuse," said Byrnes.

According to Byrnes, the fund has a current balance of 1 million dollars but is not limited in the amount it will generate. Modeled after a similar fund established by the Archdiocese of New York. So how does it work exactly?

AFC chair Rich Untalan emphasized the need for the administering of funds and the fund itself to be free of church influence which he says is important to allow victims to gain a sense of comfort when discussing their abuse.

Untalan adds, "The Archdiocese will have no influence over that fund, how its administered, how its operated, how claims are processed or handled, How claims are filtered, how they 're determined, how much, everything. None of that. It's going to be administered by a third-party person."

According to Untalan the only involvement of the church is the appointing of the third-party administrator and the initial $1 million in the fund. He says the administrator will most likely be a retired judge or someone with a law background. This is important because the administrator will be responsible for all aspects of the fund.

But how will the fund coincide with victims who have already filed lawsuits against the church? Untalan says that is a legal matter that has yet to be worked out.

Meantime, the AFC, which was set up to help the church financially navigate through the multiple sex abuse lawsuits they are facing.

"One of the key things that we are doing right now is through the real property committee, Joe Rivera, Chris Felix and others. We have to create a database for the entire church, every asset. It’s never been done before," says Untalan. "We are valuating every asset in the church and ranking them in order of priority of course with schools and parishes, to be protected as much as possible."

Part of this includes an appraisal of the RMS seminary in Yona. The seminary has been at the center of yearlong protests by various church groups who felt that archbishop Anthony Apuron handed the seminary over the Neo Catechumenal way. Untalan says that right now the church has $132 million in assets.

"As of this day, we have approx. 132 million in net book assets," said Untalan.

The church is currently faced with lawsuits totaling $115 million. Untalan says the $132 million in net book assets means if the church had to sell everything, that is the amount they would get.

"We are looking at that priority first, but everything is on the block, even this building, the chancery is on the block," said Untalan.



1 comment

  • Comment Link Comment by : bg1986 (Thursday, 09 March 2017 07:38)

    I'm for the victims of the church sex abuse getting justice through monetary awards. I have a few questions though. How do we know that all the accusers are truly victims? Are we to take their word for it? Can a lie detector test be administered to all the accusers? I know it doesn't necessarily establish guilt but the readings may be an indicator based on how they react to the line of questions. Why aren't the priests being sued? It's like punishing the entire class for the bad behavior of a few. Doesn't make any sense to me.

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