RELIGION

Heavily Catholic Guam is torn by sex abuse allegations

  • FILE - In this November 2014 file photo, Archbishop Anthony Apuron stands in front of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in Hagatna, Guam. The U.S. territory of Guam, where almost everyone is Catholic, has been ripped apart by claims the archbishop abused altar boys. Apuron has denied allegations he molested multiple altar boys. (AP Photo/Grace Garces Bordallo, File)

    FILE - In this November 2014 file photo, Archbishop Anthony Apuron stands in front of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in Hagatna, Guam. The U.S. territory of Guam, where almost everyone is Catholic, has been ripped apart by claims the archbishop abused altar boys. Apuron has denied allegations he molested multiple altar boys. (AP Photo/Grace Garces Bordallo, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this Sept. 20, 2016 photo, Andrew Camacho, vice president of the Concerned Catholics of Guam, poses for a photo inside the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica after a news conference in Hagatna, Guam. Guam’s governor was in tough position when faced with a bill Catholic leaders feared would bring an onslaught of civil lawsuits for child sex abuse allegations and bankrupt the church. He signed it into law even though. “We cannot think about bankruptcy,” said Camacho, vice president of Concerned Catholics of Guam, one of the groups that have organized the protests. (AP Photo/Grace Garces Bordello)

    In this Sept. 20, 2016 photo, Andrew Camacho, vice president of the Concerned Catholics of Guam, poses for a photo inside the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica after a news conference in Hagatna, Guam. Guam’s governor was in tough position when faced with a bill Catholic leaders feared would bring an onslaught of civil lawsuits for child sex abuse allegations and bankrupt the church. He signed it into law even though. “We cannot think about bankruptcy,” said Camacho, vice president of Concerned Catholics of Guam, one of the groups that have organized the protests. (AP Photo/Grace Garces Bordello)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this April 17 2014 photo a gardener at the the official residence of the Guam archbishop polishes a bronze statue of the pope in Hagatna, Guam. The U.S. territory of Guam, where almost everyone is Catholic, has been ripped apart by claims the archbishop abused altar boys. Guam’s governor was in tough position when faced with a bill Catholic leaders feared would bring an onslaught of civil lawsuits for child sex abuse allegations and bankrupt the church. (AP Photo/Grace Garces Bordello)

    In this April 17 2014 photo a gardener at the the official residence of the Guam archbishop polishes a bronze statue of the pope in Hagatna, Guam. The U.S. territory of Guam, where almost everyone is Catholic, has been ripped apart by claims the archbishop abused altar boys. Guam’s governor was in tough position when faced with a bill Catholic leaders feared would bring an onslaught of civil lawsuits for child sex abuse allegations and bankrupt the church. (AP Photo/Grace Garces Bordello)  (The Associated Press)

Guam's governor was in tough position when faced with a bill Roman Catholic leaders fear could bring an onslaught of sexual abuse lawsuits that could bankrupt the church.

Gov. Eddie Calvo signed the bill into law last month, removing the statute of limitations for people to sue the church.

Guam is about 80 percent Catholic. The Catholic Church lobbied heavily against the bill and asked parishioners to sign petitions calling on the governor to veto the bill.

But Calvo said the new law provides justice to those who were abused.

The bill was prompted by allegations that the 70-year-old archbishop of Guam molested altar boys decades ago. He has denied the allegations and has not been charged.