Archbishop categorically denies accusation of sexual abuse

Anthony Apuron, the Archbishop of Agana (Guam), has categorically denied an allegation of sexual abuse that has been made against him.

Last Tuesday Roy Quintanilla publicly accused Apuron of molesting him about 40 years ago, when he was a 12-year-old altar boy.

This allegation is the latest in a series of complaints about various things taking place in the Diocese of Agana.

Read media release made 13 May, from the Archdiocese, in which the allegations are listed and responded to.

Three video statements released

A video message from archbishop Apron was recorded  last Tuesday, in which Apuron unequivocally denied the accusations made against him.

“To be absolutely clear and to avoid any misinterpretations of my statement I deny all allegations of sexual abuse,” he said.

Apuron described the “false accusation of sexual abuse” as part of  “a series of attacks against himself and the church.”

Deacon Francisco Tenor recorded a video-recorded message, released Thursday night, in which he said “When (Apuron) spoke very directly denying any involvement in this alleged offence, I accept that this is the truth,” of Archbishop Apuron’s statement.

“I know this to be the truth since I too was assigned to the Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Agat between (1973) and (1977).”

The alleged incident happened during these years when Apuron was a priest at Mt. Carmel.

Roy Quintanilla also releases a video statement responding to Tenorio.

Quintanilla said he respected Tenorio but his comments in the video were offensive.

Quintanilla said the deacon should’ve waited for results from an investigation before coming out and disputing Quintanilla’s allegations.

Church begins coordinating response, following guidelines

The archdiocese says that it has begun to initiate the steps contained in its sexual abuse policy.

“In the spirit of commitment set by Pope Francis, the Archdiocese of Agana affirms its commitment to upholding its Sexual Misconduct and Harassment Policy,” the archdiocese said.

It assured the Catholics “that proper steps have been initiated, as outlined and guided by our policy.”

“Deacon Larry Claros is the archdiocese’s Sexual Abuse Response Coordinator (SARC).”

The archdiocese said Deacon Claros has been informed and is coordinating a response, which includes convening the archdiocesan review board and contacting the complainant as outlined in the sexual misconduct and harassment policy.

Three members of the sexual abuse review board withdraw

Three members of the archdiocesan review board have said they cannot take part in a review of this accusation.

This means the five-member board may need to appoint more members.

Mariles Benavente said she will recuse herself because she is walking in the Neocatechumenal Way, a group within the Catholic Church whose members meet in small community settings to worship.

The Archbishop is also part of the Way.

His ties to the Way have angered a number of Guam Catholics.

Vincent Pereda resigned after saying the archdiocese’s sexual misconduct policy is flawed.

In an email to Claros Pereda said because the archbishop is identified as an alleged offender, the policy can’t involve him in any way.

Pereda also wrote that he believed, based on Quintanilla’s statements, that “credible, reasonable cause does exists … that the archbishop engaged in sexual misconduct.”

Juan Rapadas began work at the  Superior Court of Guam 2015.

This is the first case to come before the board since that time.

Rapadas said he’s required to step down from any group that may pose a conflict of interest in his line of work.

“When this came out and there was some talk about the archbishop filing a case or anyone else filing a case, I had to get out,” Rapadas said.

George Kallingal is a fourth member of the board.

He said he will remain on the board.

The fifth review board member wasn’t available for comment.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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