Guam may become the first U.S. territory to allow victims of child sex abuse to sue their perpetrators, on retroactive cases, without time restrictions, reports USA Today.
Currently, there is no opposition to a bill that would remove time restrictions for suing abusers. A public hearing on the bill is scheduled to resume today.
Chalan Pago resident Gerard Taitano told senators on Thursday: “We cannot continue to expect the church to fix itself in this regard. We use hold child sex abusers and their enablers accountable for their actions. Serious moral, legal and ethical questions arise whenever a prosecutor cannot adequately indict child sex predators or their enablers.”
Although Guam is on its way to becoming the first U.S. territory to allow victims to sue without time restriction, other U.S. jurisdictions are considering expanding or eliminating states of limitations on rape and child sex abuse, including those involving members of the Catholic church.
In Guam’s case, recent allegations involve the archbishop, the highest leader of the local Catholic church. According to his accusers, the alleged sex abuse occurred when Apron was still parish priest at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Agat during the 1970s.
The statute of limitations lift would give so many victims a voice and a means of justice. Predators and institutions that protect them must be exposed and held accountable.