Pacific News Centre
16 February 2017
Guam – More lawsuits for civil claims of sexual abuse are expected to be filed against retired Saipan Bishop Tomas Camacho.
Attorney David Lujan, who represents Melvin Duenas, 55, the first individual to accuse Camacho of sexually assaulting him, announced today that he’s been in communication with at least three other individuals who intend to sue the retired bishop.
All of the accusers, Lujan said, claim they were sexually abused at the Inarajan parish where Duenas said he was sexually assaulted when he was just 10 years old.
At the time, Camacho served as a priest at the Inarajan church. He was appointed in 1985 to serve as bishop of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa in Saipan. He retired in 2010 at the age of 76.
Sex abuse suit filed vs Bishop Camacho
14 February 2017
A Guam resident filed a sexual abuse lawsuit against bishop emeritus Tomas A. Camacho yesterday regarding allegations that date back several decades ago, making Camacho the first clergy member from the CNMI to be embroiled in a controversy that has hounded the Roman Catholic Church.
Last year, Guam’s Catholic community was rocked by several allegations of similar sexual abuse by then archbishop Anthony S. Apuron. Guam and the CNMI are both predominantly Catholic and tight-knit communities.
Most Rev. Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, then serving as the Archdiocese of Agana’s apostolic administrator, urged Pope Francis to remove Apuron from his post because of the allegations.
Most. Rev. Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of the archdiocese on Oct. 31, 2016.
Retired priest Rev. Fr. Louis Brouillard and several John Does were included in the lawsuit filed by Melvin Duenas in the U.S. District Court of Guam.
Child sexual abuse, negligence, negligent supervision, negligent hiring and retention, and breach of fiduciary duty/confidential relationship are the verified complaints listed by Duenas in the lawsuit.
Duenas allegedly claims that the sexual abuse started when he was around 10 years while serving as the chief altar boy at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Inarajan. He would sleep at the rectory’s guest room after Camacho obtained permission from his father.
Duenas stated in the complaint that Camacho used the excuse that it would be convenient for him to perform his duties if he sleeps at the guest room since the chief altar boy is a demanding job. He would serve every Mass and on special occasions like weddings, funerals, and baptisms.
His other duties included preparing for Mass, ringing the church bell three times a day, refilling the Mass wine, setting up the chalice, preparing the incense, feeding the priests, washing the vehicles, and cleaning the church, kitchen, rectory, and priests’ quarters.
He said that the alleged sexual abuse took place while he was living at the Inarajan rectory, between the ages of 10 to 13 from 1971 to 1974.
Duenas, in his affidavit, said Camacho repeatedly sexually molested and raped him. He said the then-priest would invite him to his bedroom and lock it while forcing the altar boy to undress. He would then stand naked in front of Camacho and he would be free to return to his room after the alleged sexual act. This allegedly happened on an almost nightly basis.
Duenas also claims that Camacho raped him several times where he could not free himself despite resisting the priest’s sexual advances.
Aside from being Inarajan Parish’s chief altar boy, Duenas was also required to occasionally serve during Masses at the San Isidro Catholic Church of Malojloj during special events held by the Sisters of Mercy.
Brouillard was then a priest at Malojloj Parish and Duenas claims that the former was allegedly completely naked under his vestments while saying Mass. Brouillard would also allegedly sexually abuse and molest Duenas in occasions when he was serving as an altar boy.
Duenas was also a member of the Boy Scouts of America’s Guam chapter where Brouillard was the scoutmaster. They would practice marching at the Malojloj Parish’ parking lot and after the drills they would occasionally go to the nearby Carmelite Monastery Convent where Brouillard was residing at that time.
Brouillard would allegedly routinely display pornography in his and the other boys’ presence. His sexual abuse and molestation of Duenas allegedly happened numerous times.
Duenas, in order to escape the harrowing ordeal, ran away from the Inarajan Parish’s rectory sometime between 1974 to 1975. He never saw Camacho or Brouillard after that, with the former returning to Saipan and was consecrated bishop on Jan. 13, 1985, two months after the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa was established.
Duenas claimed that he tried reaching out to Camacho when he was around 45 or 46 years old or about 2006 or 2007 while he was on Saipan in order to seek closure. He wrote notes, left his telephone numbers, and even emailed the diocese but received no response until this time.
Brouillard, on the other hand, admitted sexually abusing boys in a written statement on Oct. 3, 2016.
Guam, Saipan diocese react to sex abuse allegations against retired bishop
Pacific News First
14 February 2016
Written by Janela Carrera
Melvin Duenas says he was repeatedly raped by the now-retired bishop in the early 1970s.
Guam – The Diocese of Chalan Kanoa in Saipan issued a statement this afternoon following allegations of sexual abuse against Saipan’s Bishop Emeritus Tomas Camacho.
Bishop Ryan Jimenez said in a release that his diocese is cooperating with civil authorities and that they are working hard to maintain a safe church environment.
“It is with deep sadness and great bearing to learn of the sexual abuse allegations in a civil claim against then-priest and now Bishop Emeritus Tomas A. Camacho by Guam resident Melvin Duenas,” said Jimenez. He also says that his diocese is in contact with the Archdiocese of Agana.
Camacho is the latest church official to be named in a sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Agana. The alleged victim, 55-year-old Melvin Duenas, accused Camacho of locking him in a room when he was 10 years old and sexually assaulting him. Duenas said this happened at the rectory of the St. Joseph’s church in Inarajan when he was an altar server.
He also accused former Guam Priest Father Louis Brouillard of sexually abusing him. Duenas said after three years of nearly daily abuse, he ran away from the church and never returned.
Duenas is the 17th individual to file suit against the Archdiocese of Agana for civil claims of sexual abuse.
Among those also named as alleged sexual predators is Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron who was ousted from the church and is reportedly facing a canonical trial.
The Archdiocese of Agana also released a statement which you can read below:
The Archdiocese of Agana acknowledges the latest allegation of clergy sexual abuse and lawsuit filed this week by Mr. Melvin Duenas. The lawsuit names Bishop Emeritus Tomas Camacho of the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa and Father Louis Brouillard during their time as priests in the early 1970s.
We extend our prayers to Mr. Duenas and his family and to all who have come forward in recent weeks including Felix Manglona, Ramon De Plata and Edward Chan. We ask the entire Church to pray for victims of sexual abuse by clergy.
The Archdiocese has stepped up its vigilance against sexual abuse. We are committed to ensuring that our Church is a place where all people, most especially the young, nurture their faith in complete safety and protection from those who would harm them.
Under Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes, the Archdiocese has adopted the United States Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People which establishes strict rules and norms on how our Archdiocese guards against abuse, responds to allegations of abuse and brings restoration and healing to victims of abuse. The Task Force for the Protection of Minors conducted training of adults entrusted with the care of children from October to January of 2016 and this week will begin training at the parish level.
Curriculum on sexual abuse prevention has been established at the Catholic elementary school level. All our Archdiocese schools from Pre-K to 5th grade will teach the curriculum by March. Secondary schools will follow suit this year.
Retired Saipan Bishop Tomas Camacho named in latest sex abuse lawsuit
Pacific News First
13 February 2017
Written by Janela Carrera
Bishop Emeritus Tomas Camacho was ordained bishop in 1985 and retired in 2010.
Guam – Archbishop Anthony Apuron isn’t the only bishop facing allegations of sexual abuse. Another survivor has come forward saying he was repeatedly raped by Tomas Camacho, the Bishop Emeritus for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Chalan Kanoa in the Northern Mariana Islands.
The latest accuser is 55-year-old Melvin Duenas who served as an altar boy at the St. Joseph church in Inarajan between 1968 to 1974.
Duenas said the sexual abuse began when he was 10 years old and lasted for about three years. Duenas accused the retired bishop, who was at the time serving as the priest at the Inarajan Church, of locking Duenas into a bedroom at the rectory and sexually assaulting him.
Camacho would later become the bishop of the Diocese of Chalan Kona in Saipan in 1985. Duenas says he attempted to contact Camacho in 2006 but he never received a response. Bishop Emeritus Camacho retired in 2010 at the age of 76.
In addition to Camacho, Duenas says he was also sexually abused by former Guam priest Father Louis Brouillard who has been named in several other lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese of Agana by former altar servers.
Duenas, who is now the 17th individual to file suit against the church, is also seeking $5 million in damages making the total amount of damages being sought against the Archdiocese of Agana now $85 million.