Two recent lawsuits have been filed by courageous survivors who are represented by a team of attorneys, including Leander James and Craig Vernon of James, Vernon and Weeks, P.A. “By having the courage to come forward to seek justice, these brave survivors are speaking to other survivors … telling them that they are not alone and that it is not their fault.” Comments Mr. James.
One of these brave survivors, D.C., was sexually abused by a priest, Father Antonio Cruz, in the late 1950s, when Cruz was the parish priest at Nuestra Señora De Las Aguas Church in Mongmong.
D.C. was sexually assaulted by Father Cruz on what was supposed to be a car ride around the island. Father Cruz drove down a barren street and parked in the jungle, hidden from view of any other person or vehicles. During the car ride back, Father Cruz told D.C., who was an altar boy not to tell anyone about what had happened and bribed D.C., offering him “anything he wanted,” even saying the underage boy could borrow his car.
Read more about D.C.’s lawsuit here.
The other courageous survivor M.B.,was sexually abused by Father Andrew Mannetta. This was the first lawsuit filed against Mannetta, who was known as “Father Andy.”
Mr. Vernon explains how Father Andy was trusted by M.B. and his parents. He was a Priest. He was supposed to be a holy man of God. For him to commit horrendous acts that destroyed the innocence of a young altar boy, is the ultimate betrayal of trust.”
Mannetta’s assignment history reveals a disturbing pattern leading him to Hawaii, where, coincidentally, James and Vernon have successfully represented many other survivors of sexual abuse. “This notorious pedophile was shifted from Parish to Parish within Guam, before being transferred to Hawaii. He left a trail of abused and broken children everywhere the Church sent him, until he was finally defrocked as a Priest around 2002,” comments James.
Read more about M.B.’s lawsuit here.
“As one of these articles points out, more than 40 sex abuse cases have been filed against the Catholic Church in Guam thus far. This is becoming an epidemic of abuse. Justice will prevail.” Comments Vernon.