16 Apr 2010

Guam senators urged to move on Catholic church over child abuse

1:15 pm on 16 April 2010

The vice-speaker of Guam's legislature says fellow senators will find it hard not to support a bill that would require Catholic church officials to report suspected child abuse to authorities.

The current law lists health professionals, school employees and law enforcement officials among those required to report such cases if they come across them in the course of their jobs.

The vice-speaker Benjamin J. Cruz's bill to amend the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act would add all church employees to that list.

While his recent civil union bill stalled in the legislature after meeting strong opposition from Guam's Catholic community, Senator Cruz is confident senators will support him this time.

"One would be hard-pressed to say that you don't want to protect children. You might be able to say that, politically, I don't want to support civil unions but it would be political suicide for any member of the legislature to say that they're not in support of protecting children and that they'd much rather protect paedophile priests."

Benjamin J. Cruz