Archbishop Apuron says allegation a horrible calumny

Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, archbishop of Agana, Guam, has issued a press statement saying he intends to file a lawsuit for defamation.

An allegation has been made by a third party, that about 30 years ago Apuron molested a former high school seminarian.

Apuron says that the allegation is “a horrible calumny.”

He said because of the allegation, he is “obliged to defend not my person but the Church.”

“Any damages that I receive I will not keep for myself, but will be given to the charitable causes of our Church.”

According to the  press release, Apuron has been advised by his attorney not to answer any questions regarding the allegation.

“I trust that the members of our Guam Catholic family who have observed my actions and leadership for the last thirty years will know in their hearts and spirit that these allegations are false.”

John Toves, a Guamanian who lives in San Francisco has alleged that the archbishop, who was rector at the time, sexually molested his relative when they were in seminary.

Toves did not speak with his relative about the allegations but rather he heard about it while they were in seminary.

His relative has not yet come forward.

Toves sent one letter to officials at the Vatican and the Vatican’s delegate to the Pacific islands, Archbishop Martin Krebs.

“I come forward now as I realised that no one else has, and I believe the Archbishop must be held accountable for his actions,” Toves wrote.

Deacon Larry Claros, the recently appointed sexual abuse response coordinator for the Archdiocese of Agana, says he believes Archbishop Anthony Apuron is innocent.

“I think if anyone is to go ahead and give allegations, that the responsible person needs to surface and make those accusations (him) or herself versus a third party,” the deacon said.

On Tuesday Toves went to the Hagatna Precinct, seeking the Guam Police Department’s advice on whether he would be arrested if he were to go the chancery to try to seek yet another audience with the archbishop.

Last week the vicar general monsignor David Quitugua had warned Toves that no meeting would occur and that any demands for an appointment or attempts to confront the archbishop on chancery grounds or elsewhere would be responded to appropriately and in accordance with law.

On Nov. 21 Apuron met privately with Pope Francis at the Vatican when, he say, they spoke about the Catholic Church’s role on Guam and in the Pacific.

Toves’ letter was sent to Vatican officials and Archbishop Martin Krebs the same day.

In his press release Apuron said, “I met with his Holiness Pope Francis in a private audience, which he granted, at my request.”

“I wanted to speak with the Holy Father about the situation of the Church in Guam, and the critical role we play in the evangelization of the Pacific.”

Apuron said  the Pope  was happy to hear that Guam has  two seminaries and he appreciated the strategic contribution these institutions offered to the New Evangelization of Oceania.



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News category: Asia Pacific.

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