RELIGION

Catholic Church of Guam established $1M sexual abuse settlement fund

The Roman Catholic Church of Guam has established a $1 million settlement fund for victims of child sexual abuse.

Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes announced the settlement fund at a news conference Wednesday with his nine-member archdiocese finance council.

Archdiocesan Finance Council President Richard Untalan said the $1 million is a start and shows the archdiocese's "serous intent" to aid victims whether they file a lawsuit or not.

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The church is seeking an administrator for the fund and an independent third party to operate the fund. After these are in place, Byrnes said victims can contact the administrator directly.

Byrnes said the settlement fund to aid victims is "another concrete step in our effort to reach out to victims of child sex abuse and to do all we can to help them, help them heal, help them find peace, help them find a sense of closure. We know money alone will not heal, but it can aide the healing."

To date, 24 victims have filed a lawsuit for clergy child sexual abuse against the archdiocese of Agana in Guam.

"We are not filing bankruptcy," Untalan said. "We hope we can settle every case."