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9 Aug, 2016 05:03

Pray your sins away? Guam priest who molested 20 boys told to say Hail Mary

Pray your sins away? Guam priest who molested 20 boys told to say Hail Mary

When the Catholic Church learned that a priest working at the US island territory of Guam abused some 20 children, the only suitable response it found was to advise him to pray, the cleric, now based in Minnesota, has revealed in an interview.

Reverend Louis Brouillard, 95, admitted to repeatedly molesting boys while serving and teaching at Guam from the 1940s to the 1970s. Guam is an island in the Pacific known for housing a US Naval base.

After confessing his crimes to a local priest, Brouillard was not specifically told to stop, he told the AP. In fact, Brouillard was simply advised by other Church members to “do better” and repeat Hail Mary prayers.

When Brouillard was pressed on about how many boys he abused, he replied: “I have no idea. Maybe 20.”

Moreover, the cleric claimed he thought the boys were enjoying it: “At that time, when I was that age, I got the impression that kids liked it, so I went ahead. But now of course, I know it's wrong and I'm paying for it,” he said.

Brouillard cannot be prosecuted for his abuses at this time due to the current statute of limitations for child molestation, which is currently at two years.

Leo Tudela, 73, testified at this week’s hearing in the Guam Legislature that Brouillard abused him while he was an altar boy in the mid-1950s. Tudela called on senators to pass legislation that would extend the statute of limitations for lawsuits that deal with children molestation.

On top of Brouillard’s abuses, Tudela also testified against two other members of the Church.

During his testimony Tudela said that Brouillard woke him up one night while at the Santa Teresita Church Rectory in Mangilao and began to sexually touch him, according to the Pacific Daily News.

Brouillard, however, said he could not recall abusing Tudela, saying that was only “possible.”

The Catholic priest was removed from his position three decades ago, but the Roman Catholic Church continues to pay his pension. He currently lives in Pine City, Minnesota.

“I regret with all my heart that I did anything wrong to them,” he told AP. “I am praying for the boys and hope that they can forgive me and that God can.”

Tudela’s testimony is just one of the latest revelations related to the alleged abuse of children on the Pacific island. Other claims that were made against members of the Catholic Church included Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who is currently being investigated by the Church.

Apuron was accused after three former altar boys as well as the mother of another one filed a $2 million libel and slander lawsuit against him. However, Apuron has denied all the allegations against him.

In the meantime, the Vatican has appointed a temporary administrator Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai.

Following Brouillard’s public confession, Hon released an apology: “With the news that Father Louis Brouillard, a priest who served on Guam confessed to having abused altar boys on Guam in the 1950s, I convey my deepest apologies and that of the entire church to Mr. Leo Tudela and all other persons who were also victimized.”

Pope Francis has spoken in favor of introducing more severe punishments for pedophiles, after creating a new Church rule that punishes bishops for not firing priests