Archdiocese of Agãna taken to court for libel and slander

The archdiocese of Agana, under the direction of archbishop Anthony Apuron, indicated it would seek legal action against the archbishop’s accusers. The church now finds itself the target of a libel suit from the same individuals whose allegations it denied.

On 3 July at the Superior Court of Guam four people, Roland Sondia, Walter Denton, Edith Doris Concepcion and Roy Quintanilla, filed a complaint for libel and slander against the archdiocese and Apuron.

“We want the truth to be public and to defend our honor and integrity,” Denton said during a press conference. “Instead of using church resources to reach out and help victims, they called us liars.”

The Rev. Jeffrey San Nicolas said the archdiocese is “studying the matter seriously.”

San Nicolas was appointed delegate of the administrator, assuming responsibilities similar to those of the vicar general and moderator of the Curia, on June 30, a day before the lawsuit was filed.

The complaint refers to the various statements Apuron and the archdiocese released before the Vatican appointed an administrator.

Quintanilla was the first among the four to come forward with allegations of abuse in May. Shortly after that Concepcion claimed her son, had also been abused.

Apuron denied the allegations. The archdiocese press releases labeled the accusations as malicious attacks to discredit the archbishop.

Shortly after Concepcion made her allegation the archdiocese announced it was in the process of taking canonical and legal measures against “those perpetrating these malicious lies.”

The complaint notes that neither Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, Apuron, nor the archdiocese have retracted the previous statements.

“No one in this archdiocese, since Hon had taken over, they had not approached us … to this very moment,” Denton said. He added that they shared sentiments with some in the community that Apuron should be laicized, or defrocked.

Denton said he did not know if more individuals would join the suit in the future but said he hoped more would come forward and state their experiences.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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