Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson sent an email saying she would “recommend” a separate statute of limitations for sexual abuse.
Guam – While there has been no legal opinion or memorandum issued by the attorney general on the controversial bill 326, AG Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson has given some input on the measure when it was first introduced.
The spotlight is now on Governor Eddie Calvo with just 24 hours left to take action on the controversial bill 326 which, if passed, will lift the statute of limitations indefinitely and retroactively for pursuing civil action against child sex abusers and institutions that protect them. We’ve heard from experts in the community, as well as some of the survivors of church sex abuse. We also spoke with former Senator and practicing attorney Bob Klitzkie.
“Of course it will be challenged with the first big case that comes along. It will be challenged, no doubt. It’ll go to Supreme Court but I can’t see any obvious constitutional flaws in the bill,” said Klitzkie.
Klitzkie also says that despite the fact that the governor had previously expressed his belief that institutions and organizations should not be held liable for such crimes, times are now different.
“I think that the governor would be well advised to sign that bill given what we know now,” he said. “Now that we know that I think we can be much more enlightened when we look at liability for institutions in general because people who covered those things up, who conspired or even worse, use that guilty knowledge for leverage should not go unscathed in this process.”
On the other side of the argument is Dr. Ricardo Eusebio, president of Catholic Families for Apuron and a board member of the Redemptoris Mater Seminary.
“I hope and pray that it is not passed not because I’m not concerned about the victims of child abuse, but I think we need to do more than what this bill stands for. This bill focuses on private institutions and does not address the government of Guam,” he explained. “A child suffers from an incestuous relationship; what recourse does that child have? What i’m saying is that this bill is good but we need to do better.”
But what does Attorney General Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson have to say? She hasn’t issued a legal opinion but she has previously given some input on the measure when it was first introduced. Included in the committee report for bill 326 is an email Anderson sent to Senator Frank Aguon Jr. after she was invited to attend a public hearing for bill 326.
Her email read: “Would you let the senator know that I would recommend a separate statute of limitations for sexual abuse/assault acts against children rather than eliminating the SL in the general provisions as written in Section 11306. This section applies to all types of personal injuries and death, so the current Bill opens up the SL for ALL types of personal injuries, not just sexual abuse/assault. Is this his intent? The intent as written only talks about opening the SL for civil suits pertaining to injury from sexual abuse/assault, but again Section 11306 applies to any type of personal injury.”(Guam News)[/restrict]