The late Rev. Louis Brouillard, accused of sexually molesting dozens of boys in Guam and bringing some to stay with him in Minnesota, was named in a lawsuit filed this week against the Vatican for failure to protect children.
Brouillard, who had been living in Pine City until his death last year, is the subject of front page news on the Pacific island as more than 60 men accused him of sexually abusing them as children.
The priest, who grew up in Minnesota, served in Guam from 1948 to 1981 when he was transferred back to the state. Former Archbishop Anthony Apuron of the Guam archdiocese of Agana also is named in the lawsuit, filed this week in the Superior Court of Guam.
“This is the first lawsuit that is being brought against the Holy See for the coverup and endangerment of children in Guam,” said attorney Marci Hamilton of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s leading clergy abuse experts.
“They [Vatican officials] knew about sexual abuse in dioceses around the world for years, and yet they did nothing to protect the children.”
While the Vatican has been named in lawsuits naming individual priests, this is the first time it is being sued because of actions of an archbishop, she said.
Brouillard lived more than 30 years in the U.S. territory of Guam before being transferred in 1981 to the Duluth Diocese, where he served in three churches even as he reportedly brought teen boys from Guam to stay with him. No abuse was reported, the diocese said.
He lived in retirement across from a school playground in Pine City. Brouillard, when contacted early last year at his apartment, declined to comment directly on the accusations. However, court records show he signed a document in 2016 acknowledging he abused at least 20 boys.
Brouillard is among at least 15 priests, two archbishops and a bishop accused of widespread sexual abuse of boys from the 1950s to the 1990s in Guam. More than 180 clergy abuse lawsuits have been filed since the territory opened its statute of limitations, allowing for older abuse claims to have their day in court.
The Guam archdiocese declared bankruptcy this week in response to the continued avalanche of claims.