Lawyers to discuss whether letters to archbishop will be included in bankruptcy trial – Guam Pacific Daily News

Posted: February 11, 2022 at 6:32 am

Archbishop Michael Byrnes announces the archdiocese's filing of Chapter 11 bankruptcy in light of the number of clergy sex abuse cases facing the church.

Lawyers in the bankruptcy case for the Archdiocese of Agaa will determine whether letters recounting the churchs acquisitions could be used as evidence if witnesses are able to testify at trial.

The Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in Hagta.

A motion filed by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors to exclude the letters from trial was argued at the District Court of Guam Friday.

The creditors argued the letters to Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes include hearsay because they are personal accounts about the archdioceses property.

The community statements are about individual feelings and intentions, said creditors attorney Andrew Glasnovich.

Glasnovich added the contents could not be an exception to the hearsay rule, which requires more reliability.

The archdiocese, however, said the letters include histories of acquisitions.

They would appear to have some inherent reliability and that they are simply relating to the date and a piece of property, said Ford Elsaesser, who used a letter discussing the history of a piece of land in Sumai-Santa Rita being used by the church.

After arguments were made, the creditors primary concern came down to the letters not being accompanied by witnesses who could testify to them at trial. A letter standing alone, they argued, would be considered hearsay.

Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood, to resolve the issue, asked attorneys to confer as to whether they could get the writers of the letters to testify.

In 2019, a complaint filed by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors said the Archbishop of Agaa did not Catholic schools and parishes as owned property when filing for bankruptcy.

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Lawyers to discuss whether letters to archbishop will be included in bankruptcy trial - Guam Pacific Daily News

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