The announcement was made in a media release issued Friday. In the release, the archdiocese doesn’t clearly state who it specifically plans to take to court.
Pacific Daily News on Monday asked the archdiocese in an email questions regarding the civil suits and whether the charges will be related to slander and libel. The church on Monday said the matter has been referred to its attorneys.
“The media will have to be patient until the matter takes its course through its formal proceedings,” the church wrote in an email.
Friday’s media release addressed and refuted several claims made against the church and Archbishop Anthony Apuron over the past three years.
The church continued to dispute the allegations that Apuron had given away control of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona to the Neocatechumenal Way, a group within the Catholic Church.
Citing the deed of the property, which the church released to the public late last year, the archdiocese notes that the deed lists the church as the sole owner of the property. The church also defends the Neocatechumenal Way, arguing that five popes have approved the Way and more than 100 dioceses in the world, including Manila, have Redemptoris Mater seminaries.
Concerned CatholicsThe church’s media release also addressed what it called “criminal sexual abuse” accusations directed at Apuron.
In recent weeks, the Concerned Catholics, a local group that has held protests targeting the archbishop, took out a full-page advertisement in the PDN that showed the back of a person wearing Catholic clerical attire and asked readers “Were You Sexually Abused? Molested?”
The ad also stated: “If you or someone you know was the victim of sexual abuse during these periods and at these locations, you no longer have to suffer in silence.”
Below the statement was a list of dates ranging between 1974 and 1984. The locations included Father Duenas Minor Seminary, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Saipan, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Agat and the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica.
The archdiocese said the Concerned Catholics’ ad targeted Apuron.
“This demonstrates that they have no proof to substantiate any allegations and that their purpose to confuse and mislead the people or, even, to induce some to bring false testimony,” the church wrote.
Days later, Vice Speaker Benjamin Cruz made the comment on a local radio station that Apuron instructed some senators to attach “poison pill” amendments to a bill he authored relative to helping victims of sexual abuse crimes come forward and file civil suits.
The bill in question, which was enacted in 2011 as Public Law 31-07, was a “window” measure, wherein victims of childhood sexual abuse who were then adults could have a two-year period to file civil actions against the individual that preyed upon them, suspending any statute of limitations.
While the church does call Cruz’s claims “outlandish” in the press release, it doesn’t deny that Apuron had any influence on the measure while it was being deliberated in the Legislature’s session.