Apuron appeals his conviction – Guam’s distress continues


Anthony Apuron, the former archbishop of Agaña (Guam), has appealed a Vatican tribunal’s ruling that found him guilty of “certain accusations” involving the sexual abuse of minors.

Michael Byrnes, the current archbishop of Agaña, says it has been very detrimental to the Church on Guam to have the matter hanging over their heads for so long.

“We need final closure,” he said.

He is seeking further clarification from Rome on details of the appeal, including when a decision will be made and on Apuron’s specific grounds for his appeal.

After he was found guilty in March, Apuron said in a statement released through his lawyer: “God is my witness; I am innocent and I look forward to proving my innocence in the appeals process.”

At that time the Vatican said an appeal would suspend Apuron’s penalties until a final resolution, so Apuron continues to have the title of archbishop.

The pope appointed Michael Byrnes as coadjutor archbishop in October 2016, with full rights to become the permanent archbishop if Apuron retired, resigned or was removed.

The Vatican stripped Apuron of his administrative powers in June 2016 and will not restore them during the appeal.

“Archbishop Apuron no longer had pastoral and administrative power and authority in our archdiocese even before the tribunal made its ruling,” Tony Diaz, director of communications for the archdiocese said.

“So, he would not assume administrative power even during this time of his appeal.”

He is forbidden to reside in the Territory.

More than 170 Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuits have been filed in local and federal courts since 2016 against the Archdiocese of Agaña, priests, other clergy and others associated with the Catholic Church. The parties are pursuing mediation to try to settle the cases out of court.


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News category: Asia Pacific.