So far, all the six cases of sexual allegation filed in federal court involved Father Louis Brouillard. According to the Guam Post:
Archdiocese assembles expert legal team
High-powered attorneys, including those from a law firm that has represented the Vatican, is joining the Archdiocese of Agana’s legal team to defend sex abuse cases in federal court.
Britt Evangelist, an associate from the San Francisco-based law firm of Swanson & McNamara LLP, has been retained to be co-counsel for the Archdiocese of Agana, according to a petition filed Jan. 27 in the U.S. District Court of Guam. The petition asks the court’s permission for Evangelist to join local attorney John C. Terlaje as co-counsel.
Information on Swanson & McNamara’s website describes the law firm as an expert in international law, and which has been hired in past church-related sex abuses cases to work without other attorneys in cases involving the Holy See and the Vatican Bank.
The Holy See is the universal government of the Roman Catholic Church and operates from the Vatican in Rome, and the pope is its head, according to the State Department.
Allegations of abuse
The months-long controversy involving more than a dozen allegations of sexual abuse of altar boys by former Guam priests initially played out in the local court, until last week.
As of last week, eight local judges recused from hearing some of the sex abuses cases because of a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest, Guam attorney David Lujan’s law firm last week shifted six of the cases to the federal court in Guam.
Tim Rohr, a widely followed Guam commenter on Catholic issues through his blog, said that the significance of this transfer of venue is that these cases in federal court are now on the Vatican’s radar.
Swanson & McNamara is applying to be co-counsel for the archdiocese’s defense in at least one case, filed by Lujan’s firm on behalf of at least one former altar boy, Leo B. Tudela.
Paul Gaspari, from another San Francisco law firm, Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman Grodin, also seeks to be co-counsel for the archdiocese.
Other former Guam priests were accused in sexual abuses cases filed in local court, but the six cases filed in federal court all involve Louis Brouillard.
The retired priest issued a signed statement, released to the public in October and apologizing to Tudela and other victims, which said there may have been 20 or so other young boys under his authority in Guam who were molested.
The six recently filed lawsuits in federal court sought $30 million in damages combined.
The Archdiocese of Agana is an entity under the control of the Holy See, based in Vatican City, Rome, and as such constitutes a citizen of a foreign country for purposes of diversity jurisdiction, according to the lawsuits Lujan filed in federal court.
'Prayers as a penance'
Brouillard’s statement last October stated he told other priests and the leadership of the archdiocese of the abuses.
One of the lawsuit states that Brouillard, in his statement, was told to "do better and say prayers as a penance.”
District Court Judge Joaquin Manibusan approved the applications for co-counsel.
As of last week, eight local judges recused themselves from hearing some of the sex abuse cases because of a conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest.