Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Guam, Saipan diocese react to sex abuse allegations against retired bishop

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Melvin Duenas says he was repeatedly raped by the now-retired bishop in the early 1970s.

Guam - The Diocese of Chalan Kanoa in Saipan issued a statement this afternoon following allegations of sexual abuse against Saipan’s Bishop Emeritus Tomas Camacho.

Bishop Ryan Jimenez said in a release that his diocese is cooperating with civil authorities and that they are working hard to maintain a safe church environment.

“It is with deep sadness and great bearing to learn of the sexual abuse allegations in a civil claim against then-priest and now Bishop Emeritus Tomas A. Camacho by Guam resident Melvin Duenas,” said Jimenez. He also says that his diocese is in contact with the Archdiocese of Agana.

Camacho is the latest church official to be named in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Agana. The alleged victim, 55-year-old Melvin Duenas, accused Camacho of locking him in a room when he was 10 years old and sexually assaulting him. Duenas said this happened at the rectory of the St. Joseph’s church in Inarajan when he was an altar server.

He also accused former Guam Priest Father Louis Brouillard of sexually abusing him. Duenas said after three years of nearly daily abuse, he ran away from the church and never returned.

Duenas is the 17th individual to file suit against the Archdiocese of Agana for civil claims of sexual abuse.

Among those also named as alleged sexual predators is Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron who was ousted from the church and is reportedly facing a canonical trial.

The Archdiocese of Agana also released a statement which you can read below:

The Archdiocese of Agana acknowledges the latest allegation of clergy sexual abuse and lawsuit filed this week by Mr. Melvin Duenas. The lawsuit names Bishop Emeritus Tomas Camacho of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa and Father Louis Brouillard during their time as priests in the early 1970s.

We extend our prayers to Mr. Duenas and his family and to all who have come forward in recent weeks including Felix Manglona, Ramon De Plata and Edward Chan. We ask the entire Church to pray for victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

The Archdiocese has stepped up its vigilance against sexual abuse. We are committed to ensuring that our Church is a place where all people, most especially the young, nurture their faith in complete safety and protection from those who would harm them.

Under Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes, the Archdiocese has adopted the United States Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People which establishes strict rules and norms on how our Archdiocese guards against abuse, responds to allegations of abuse and brings restoration and healing to victims of abuse. The Task Force for the Protection of Minors conducted training of adults entrusted with the care of children from October to January of 2016 and this week will begin training at the parish level.

Curriculum on sexual abuse prevention has been established at the Catholic elementary school level. All our Archdiocese schools from Pre-K to 5th grade will teach the curriculum by March. Secondary schools will follow suit this year. 

You can read the release from Jimenez by clicking on the file below:


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