US priest leaves Guam denying historic abuse allegations

An American Catholic priest removed from ministry in Guam over historic sex abuse allegations in California has left the Pacific territory.

Fr John Howard Wadeson left Guam last week saying he had been falsely accused.

The priest said he decided to leave because he didn’t want false accusations against him to tarnish Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

The Archdiocese of Agana announced on July 22 that Archbishop Apuron had removed Fr Wadeson from “active and public ministry” in response to “concerns in the community”.

A 2004 report on clergy abuse issued by Los Angeles archdiocese lists Fr Wadeson as being credibly accused of molesting two people between 1973 and 1977, while he was working as a priest with the Divine Word Missionaries religious order.

The matters did not end up going to court and he was eventually removed from ministry in Los Angeles.

His religious order would have been responsible for dealing with the allegations at the time, said a Los Angeles archdiocese spokeswoman.

In 2011, Wadeson asked Los Angeles archdiocese for authorisation to minister once more in Los Angeles.

The archdiocese refused and contacted church officials in Guam after learning he was working there, said archdiocese attorney Michael Hennigan.

He said he did not know what was done with the information.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests had called on Archbishop Apuron to remove Fr Wadeson from ministry immediately.

Fr Wadeson had been staying at Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Guam.

After Fr Wadeson was removed from public ministry in Guam, Agana Archdiocese stated it “has a policy regarding sexual misconduct and sexual harassment and takes these matters seriously”.

Pacific Daily News stated local church leadership has not responded questions as to when the archdiocese knew of the allegations against Fr Wadeson in Los Angeles.

Fr Wadeson has also spent months each year in San Francisco and, according to San Francisco Archdiocese spokeswoman Dr Christine Mugrich, he came with a letter of good standing.

San Francisco archdiocese revoked his faculties after it found out about the Guam actions.

Agana archdiocese information indicated Fr Wadeson was serving at a Neocatechumenal Center in San Francisco.

Sources

News category: Asia Pacific.

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