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Church Sex Abuse Cases Headed to Mediation

Saturday, August, 5, 2017

The attorneys for 75 victims of childhood sexual abuse will meet with attorneys for the Catholic Church in Guam in an attempt to resolve their dispute outside of the courtroom.   Their belief is mediation will be the best way to end the cases filed against the Archdioceses of Agana.   They also believe the process could be helpful for the disputes involving the Boy Scouts of America. 


A retired federal judge has agreed to work as the mediator.   The Archdiocese of Agana is represented by a Seattle, Washington attorney named Michael A. Patterson.   Patterson has worked with dioceses and archdioceses across the country throughout the last three decades in more than 2000 childhood sexual abuse cases. 


Patterson recently spoke to a Guam newspaper and called the cases “difficult for all involved,” but he expressed his confidence that mediation can help parties find a fair and reasonable resolution. 


Patterson and others involved in this case have been involved in other mediations for sex abuse cases in Spokane, Washington and Helena, Montana.   Previous mediations resulted in out-of-court settlements.   Parties are hoping to begin mediation this fall, hopefully in late October or early November. 


It is believed that each claim will be mediated on an individual basis and then a dollar value will be determined based on the evidence.   It is difficult for some to accept that a dollar value can be put on abuse – there is no way to value the long-lasting effects.  


Despite skepticism, parties involved are hoping the mediation will be successful in resolving the claims out of court.