·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Lawsuits & Litigation

Guam Catholic Church Revises Abuse Payout Plan

— July 21, 2022

Although there were opponents of submitting revisions, Guam Catholic Church and its bankruptcy creditors amended their original plan to pay damages to more than 270 survivors of clergy sexual abuse, including a disclaimer that” up to $64.3 million of the proposed payout is not guaranteed.”  This clarification was made so that survivors would not continue to believe that their payments could be as much as $107 million, which would have been based on funding that has not been secured.

The archdiocese sought bankruptcy protection in January 2019 after a many former altar boys and others came forward with abuse allegations, specifically saying their parish priests and others associated with the Catholic Church on Guam raped or molested them as children.  There were so many claimants that the archdiocese sought to minimize damages.

The agreed upon compensation has been reduced to roughly $37 million-$101 million under the new plan created by the Archdiocese of Agana and its Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors.  The amended strategy notes “the risks and other factors that would reduce or eliminate the ability to collect from certain entities,” such as the Boy Scouts of America and archdiocese insurer Continental Insurance Co., as vital in its decision-making.

Guam Catholic Church Revises Abuse Payout Plan
Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Up to 64% of the maximum payout amount could be the subject of further negotiations, or even litigation. The “not guaranteed” amount, according to bankruptcy court documents, includes: “$55 million that the archdiocese and its creditors said would come from the Boy Scouts of America, which earlier said it’s not contributing that amount and recommended that this should be made clear in order not to mislead clergy abuse survivors.; and up to $9.3 million in settlement money from Continental Insurance.”

The “First Amended Joint Disclosure Statement” also indicates the compensation to survivors will include: “$16.5 million to $23 million in estimated value of certain real estate property that the archdiocese owns and will transfer to a trust for the survivors.; $6.609 million in cash contribution from the archdiocese’s bank accounts.; $18 million from the archdiocese’s insurer, AIG/National Union.; $200,000 in initial contribution from the archdiocese to the co-called unknown tort claim reserve.; Proceeds from the sale of the FHP/TakeCare real property in Tamuning and the Chancery real property in Agana Heights.; $332,500 worth of burial plots for abuse survivors; and Free Catholic school education, K-8, for students related to clergy abuse survivors for 10 years.”

“Thus, between the various forms of funding for the Plan, it is expected the Tort Claimants will receive the grand total sum of between $37,019,033 and $101,000,000, which will be payable to the trust set up through the Plan and Disclosure Statement process,” the archdiocese and its creditors reported in their revisions.

The survivors, other creditors and the court have to approve the proposed plan before any payouts can be made.  Finance expert Craig Wade is the trustee on the account for survivors.  Wade has been the chief lending officer for Bank of Guam and other financial firms.  He is currently president and chief finance officer of the JRV Group.


Up to $64.3M ‘not guaranteed’ in new Guam clergy sex abuse payout plan

Guam Catholic Church offers up to $US34m to sex abuse victims

Join the conversation!