Guam removes statute of limitations on sexual abuse crimes

Last Monday lawmakers in Guam  unanimously approved legislation to permanently remove the statute of limitations for all sexual abuse crimes, allowing victims to file civil cases against their alleged assailant.

Sen. Frank Blas Jr., R-Barrigada, introduced Bill 326-33 a few months ago, following several public accusations by former altar boys who allege that Archbishop Anthony Apuron sexually abused them while he was parish priest in Agat, Guam, during the 1970s.

Pending the governor’s signature, Blas’ bill would give any victim the opportunity to file civil action and seek monetary restitution from the person who allegedly sexually abused them, as well as the institution or entity that was “acting in concert” with the perpetrator.

If the bill becomes law, it could allow the alleged victims to sue Apuron.

Last week, Joseph “Joe” Santos, the founder of a local grassroots group advocating to help victims of child sexual abuse, presented Blas with a petition that contained signatures from more than 3,000 people who support the bill.

“In light of growing awareness of child sexual abuse, many states have begun to reform criminal statutes. We are hoping to the do same here on Guam,” Blas told his fellow lawmakers during session Monday morning.

In 2011 the legislature passed a similar measure, opening a two-year window for any victim of childhood sexual abuse to file a civil case.

At the time, the local Catholic church advocated against it.


Additional reading

News category: Asia Pacific.

Tags: , , ,