politiku

Debi di ta pulan i famagu’on-ta!

I’m deeply touched by the courage of the men who have come forward to share their tragic experiences of sexual abuse and accuse a powerful man on this island of crimes, and I’m deeply grateful for Sen. Blas and Sen. Aguon who are sponsoring a bill to lift the statute of limitations on child sexual abuse.

There should be no statute of limitations on crimes of sexual abuse, whether against minors or adults.  Millstone — neck —

A bill that would lift the statute of limitations in cases involving child sex abuse will go up for a public hearing on June 27.  Introduced by Senator Frank Blas, Jr., Bill 326 was referred to Senator Frank Aguon Jr.’s committee. Aguon says he is working with Blas to strengthen the measure.

The hearing on the 27th gets underway at 10am at the Guam Legislature in Hagatna.

Source: KUAM

A more extensive article by the PDN is here:

Sen. Aguon advocates to protect sexual abuse victims

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In the wake of a fourth person accusing Archbishop Anthony Apuron of child molestation, Sen. Frank Aguon Jr., D-Yona, on Thursday released a statement apologizing to all victims of sexual abuse for not coming to their aid sooner.

“After a great deal of prayer and consideration over the current state of affairs — which have been profoundly painful for everyone — I sincerely apologize for not immediately coming to the defense of the alleged victims of child sexual abuse,” he said.

On Wednesday, Roland Paul L. Sondia became the fourth person to publicly accuse Apuron of sexual abuse. Sondia, 54, alleged that Apuron molested him when he was 15-years old during a sleepover at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church rectory in 1977.

Sondia and two other former altar boys of the Agat church have recently given similar accounts of Apuron, when he was the parish priest, sexually abusing them during sleepovers at the rectory back in the 1970’s.

Doris Concepcion also alleged that Apuron molested her son, Joseph Quinata, when he was an altar boy in the 70s. Quinata briefly told his mother of the incident shortly before he died 11 years ago.

Protect victims

Aguon, chairman to the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee, vowed to advance and strengthen a recently introduced measure that would lift the statute of limitations for retroactive cases, allowing victims to file civil charges regardless when the alleged abuse occurred.

Aguon said it’s his “responsibility” as a lawmaker to advocate for policies to protect child victims of sexual abuse.

“I believe that perpetrators of child sexual abuse should not be allowed to hide behind any statute of limitations,” he said.

According to Guam law, a person who was sexually abused as a minor has three years from the time they reach age 18 to file criminal charges against the assailant. Previously, the statute of limitations kicked in after the victim turned 21.

In 2011 lawmakers passed similar legislation that permanently removed the time limit to file criminal and civil cases against a perpetrator. Because it applies proactively, a person who was sexually abused as a child, but turned 21 before Gov. Eddie Calvo signed the bill into law on March 9, 2011, are limited by the previous statute of limitation on criminal cases.

“When a child is a victim of sexual abuse, it stays with them, it becomes part of their identity, and the child becomes changed forever,” Aguon said in the release.

Applies retroactively

Last month, Sen. Frank Blas Jr., R-Barrigada, introduced Bill 326-33, which would remove the statute of limitations for all individuals who have been barred from filing civil cases prior to the 2011 law. The bill applies retroactively, meaning victims of child sexual abuse could filed civil charges against the perpetrator no matter when the alleged incident happened.

“The ongoing Catholic community discussion is one (reason),” Blas said he introduced the bill. “The other is the recent reports of sexual abuses occurring elsewhere in the community.”

Aguon said he and his Judiciary Committee have worked with Blas to “strengthen” Bill 326, which has since been amended and will go through a public hearing at 10 a.m. June 27.

Earlier this decade, many state legislatures began passing “window measures” to temporarily lift the statute of limitations for sexual abuse crimes and allow victims to bring civil charges against their assailants.

Alongside the 2011 measure that permanently removed the time limit to file charges, Guam lawmakers also passed a window measure, providing a two-year period to file civil cases. However, during that time, no cases were brought forward to the Judiciary of Guam.

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