The story behind this picture I took nearly five years ago

Credit: AP photo by David Goldman

I posed for this photo nearly five years ago. I remember it well. I was still abusing drugs. A reporter from the Associated Press came to Guam to interview survivors of predators who raped boys under the care of the Archdiocese of Agana and its Catholic schools.

I was one of them.

I’ve told this story before on Kandit. Here’s a summary: In 1993, a St. Anthony School vice principal named Ray Caluag began to rape me. I was 13. It happened several times. The school and the Archdiocese of Agana covered it up. For decades.

I am only one of hundreds, perhaps thousands.

It wasn’t until the Archdiocese was forced to face its demons by a public campaign against corruption never before seen on this island did church leaders begin to take responsibility for their nearly-unforgivable crimes. The era of accountability cascaded from initial shame to new leadership (that’s a whole other story) to court-forced submission to an actual protocol against predators.

Imagine my disgust, when pages of transcripts evidencing a depraved sexual tryst between an official of this same school and a lower-level employee surfaced. Transcriptions that memorialize sexual comments involving children. A parish that, once again, rushed to cover its tracks. An archdiocese that, once again, covered up yet another sex scandal. All while pushing a protocol against sex crimes to assuage a public appetite for justice while simultaneously cheating on its publicly-stated commitments.

There were no firings. There were no condemnations of the allegedly illegal activity. No police reports were made. No one in positions of power did anything to rectify the very matter the church has spent several years promising us they would correct.

I hope the victims of this latest scandal sue the archdiocese, and bring the details of this tryst to light. From what I understand, these victims have the resources to wage this fight. If the the bankruptcy of the church on Guam, and the shame that has surrounded it won’t resolve the archdiocese’s behavior, then perhaps another scandal brought to light will bring the church closer to true reconciliation.

Until then, it’s all just lip service in the worst way.

I’ve seen this before. I’m a survivor of St. Anthony School. I’m a survivor of the Archdiocese of Agana, and all its proclivities that evidently have never gone away. I am the man in that picture holding the picture of a boy the archdiocese never gave a hoot about. That boy saw it all unfold. And as a man, it breaks my heart that this still happens.

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