Attorney Lujan slams Hope and Healing ProgramWritten by Janela Carrera
Guam - Attorney David Lujan is slamming the Hope and Healing fund saying they are misleading the public into thinking that they are here to help victims of sex abuse. Lujan represents a majority of the 52 alleged victims who have sued the archdiocese so far while the Hope and Healing fund is being run by an attorney hired by the church.
"I think it’s a scam, really. It’s all one-sided," Lujan argued.
Last week, at a press conference, the church announced that stateside Attorney Michael Caspino would be the executive director of the Hope and Healing Guam program. But according to Lujan, at a meeting with Caspino two weeks earlier, that was never revealed to him.
"That’s new to me and I would never agree to him being a part of the program. Jesus Christ, he represents the church. We might as well deal with Archbishop Byrnes," Lujan lamented. "Let me deal with the real McCoy."
Caspino made it clear, however, that his involvement in this process is independent of the church and that his role as executive director is to work with victims of sexual abuse. But even with that declaration, Lujan says he's not buying it.
"If you hired me to work for you, I don’t care what capacity, as a lawyer or cut your grass or what, in that capacity, do you think I’m independent or am I supposed to do what you want?" Lujan asked rhetorically. "These guys from the states, they probably think that we brown people, that our brains are not smart enough to figure out that this claim of independence is not real."
As an alternative, Lujan says he’d be willing to work with them if there was a co-executive director nominated by his clients and if his clients were involved in the process of choosing the board members of the program. But under the current makeup of the Hope and Healing program, Lujan believes its disingenuous.
"They’re taking out whole page newspapers saying, 'Call us if you’re suffering, call us so we can deal with your pain,'" Lujan pointed out. "Why do you think that ad is out there? It’s because they want to get to the victim before the victim gets to a lawyer. It all boils down to nothing but money ... simple is that."
PNC: "Wouldn’t the reverse be true, though, as well? The church can turn around and say it’s the same for attorneys."
"Well of course it’s true. I mean do you think I’m doing this for free?" Lujan retorted. "At least I’m honest. But you know what, in my case, [I'm] representing the victim and in my case, I don’t win unless, rather I don’t get paid unless my victim gets money. So if there’s one that’s taking a chance, it’s me."