Monday, May 1, 2017
RESPONSE TO PESCH: LEGISLATION NOT NEEDED TO EXPOSE ABUSE
Posted by Tim
Pacific Daily News columnist and attorney Bill Pesch, has a column in today PDN entitled: Litigation needed to expose abuse. Here is my response:
Mr. Pesch misses the mark. Legislation was not needed to expose the abuse. What was needed was a few people who cared and were willing to put their money where their mouth was. And it certainly was not lawyers or legislators.
Long before there was even any mention of the legislation Mr. Pesch says was so necessary, there was a small group of people who decided that enough was enough, that the bullying, and threatening, and cowing of the powerless by the powerful had to stop.
Long before there were any lawyers or legislators involved there were a very few who cared enough to stand up and say "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore." And for that we were met with threats of lawsuits, threats against our safety, threats against our families, threats against our reputations, and in the case of one particular member of the clergy and a group known as the Concerned Catholics of Guam, an ecclesiastical censure.
Long before there was any civil recourse or any hope of legal protections, four people named Roy Quintanilla, Doris Concepcion, Walter Denton, and Roland Sondia stepped forward to speak truth to power at great risk to themselves and their families given that Archbishop Apuron had already threatened to use all the resources of the church to prosecute anyone who spoke against him.
Long before Governor Eddie Calvo signed Bill 326-33 into law, everyday people like high school teacher, Joseph A. Santos, had spent months on a one man campaign he called "Silent No More," driving his truck with a big sign around the island collecting signatures from anyone who would talk to him.
And long before any lawyer stood up to file suit against the archdiocese, the people of the archdiocese had banded together to give that lawyer the legal path to do so. Because while Senator Frank Blas' original bill was certainly appreciated it, it had no hope of delivering justice since no attorney was going to sue dead or dead broke clerics.
No, it was the hard work of the people on the street, particularly that of Bob Klitzkie, who saw to the insertion of institutional liability into the original bill which paved the way for the law Pesch now celebrates.
Too bad Pesch misses all this. The whole story is a fantastic example of the "working together" mantra we hear ad nauseum for just about every cause. Except for in this case, those few people who chose to work together and take on Guam's most powerful entity, Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron, Inc., actually accomplished something.
And here is what they accomplished: THEY FORCED THE LEADERSHIP OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF AGANA TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY.
And there is one more "long before." Long before there was any law or even the third party "Hope and Healing," there was something those same few people wrote and called THE SEVEN POINT PLAN. This plan laid out a path for the archdiocese to fix itself through all of the third party elements that the Hope and Healing effort now incorporates.
We laid out this plan because we knew that it was WE, the people who spoke truth to power, the people who helped Apuron's victims stand up and speak, the people who drove the legislation, the people who stopped the church leadership's last second effort to have the bill vetoed - we knew that it was WE, US, the people in the pews, who were going to have to pay the bill.
All of the bad guys are gone. The only people left are the people in the pews. No priest or bishop is going to pay a dime. We, the people in the pews are "the church." We, the people in the pews are "the archdiocese." We have to pay the bill that Pesch is so happy about.
And we KNEW this going in. We knew we were going to have to pay the bill and we were willing to pay it to clean out our church. The tragedy is that the church's leadership at the time of the legislation was so controlled by the Neocatechumenal Way's "politburo" via their bought and paid for Roman prelates that our only recourse was to push through this legislation.
But let's say it again here! It is the people who have to pay the bill who pushed through that legislation, not lawyers, not legislators (save for a very few), not any of the do-gooders out there who now want to rush in and pontificate to us about what to do, or even take credit for it.
And now those same people, US, WE, support a third party solution over litigation. First because we have so from the beginning, and second, because now that we have run the bad guys out of town, we see this as the surest way to fix our church. (Note: we still support litigation against Apuron as he is the only cleric named so far with any personal assets and because he is still officially the Archbishop of Agana.)
The legislation needs to stay as the threat we meant it to be just in case the bad guys try to come back. But now that we have the church leadership agreeing to do what we wanted it to do all along, we want our church healed, not raped. Apuron and his rotten cohorts already did that.