15th clergy sex abuse suit filed against archdiocese

Pacific Daily News/December 29, 2016

By Dana M Williams

A 15th accuser filed a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Agana on Thursday, saying he was sexually abused by a former priest in 1987.

Washington state resident Edward Roberto Chan, 45, is suing former priest Raymond Cepeda and the archdiocese. According to the lawsuit, Chan became an altar boy in 1983, at the age of 12. When he was 15, he was scheduled to be counseled by Cepeda, who was the priest at the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica. After morning Mass, Chan stayed to help Cepeda clean the church before heading to the pastoral center for counseling. While at the pastoral center, "Edward was sexually molested and abused by Cepeda," the lawsuit states.

In 2010, the archdiocese reported that Cepeda had been removed as a priest after it investigated "serious allegations" of sexual abuse allegedly committed by him, according to Pacific Daily News files. At the time, the archdiocese said he had also been reported to civil authorities.

The lawsuit contends the archdiocese "knew that Cepeda had sexually abused and molested Edward and other minor children for years, and rather than reporting the matter to law enforcement and without intervening so as to prevent Cepeda from engaging in additional instances of sexual abuse ... for years they assisted Cepeda with the specific purpose or design to keep Cepeda's misconduct hidden and secret."

Chan is seeking unspecified damages.

Cepeda is the latest priest named in a civil lawsuit involving clergy members from the archdiocese. Others include Archbishop Anthony Apuron, Father Louis A. Brouillard, Father David Anderson and deceased Father Antonio C. Cruz.

The lawsuits are possible after Gov. Eddie Calvo signed a law Sept. 23, lifting the statute of limitations on civil lawsuits for child sexual abuse. The law allows victims to sue their abusers and the institutions that supported their abusers.

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