Archdiocese alerts Vatican about new allegation against Apuron
By Haidee V. Eugenio
Pacific Daily News
January 10, 2018
|Archbishop Anthony Apuron|
There still is no word on the results of the Vatican's canonical trial of Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron, according to Archbishop Michael Jude Byrnes, who issued a written statement Wednesday in response to the latest sexual abuse allegation against Apuron.
According to the Archdiocese of Agana, the Guam Daily Post reported that Mark Apuron, a nephew of Archbishop Apuron, alleges the archbishop sexually abused in him 1990.
No lawsuit has been filed in connection with that allegation, but Apuron currently faces four lawsuits that accuse him of abusing or raping four Agat altar boys in the late 1970s, when he was parish priest in that village.
"All subsequent information the archdiocese receives regarding this case will be forwarded expeditiously to Rome, adhering to our new, strengthened sexual abuse policy," the archdiocese said in a statement.
"All allegations of sexual abuse brought to the attention of our archdiocese are important because of the grave, irreversible harm all victims of abuse suffer at the hands of persons they once trusted,” Byrnes stated. "We are committed to protecting all children and young people entrusted to our care and to not repeat the serious failings of the past."
In October 2017, Byrnes said Vatican officials informed him that the Vatican tribunal had determined a verdict in Apuron's case. The results still have not been disclosed, according to Byrnes, who was appointed as Apuron's eventual replacement.
To date, 154 Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuits, including four alleging rape or sexual abuse by Apuron, have been filed in local and federal court.
"Archbishop Byrnes asks all people to pray for Mark Apuron and all others who have come forward with allegations they were sexually abused by clergy or lay persons of our archdiocese. This includes other persons who have most recently stated they were sexually abused by retired priest, Father Louis Brouillard on Guam, in some cases as far back as 1958," the archdiocese stated.
The archdiocese said some of the steps it has taken as part of its new, vigorous sexual abuse policy is to implement mandatory online training of all personnel at schools, parishes and offices under the national Virtus program.
The Virtus program includes background checks of all employees and volunteers who supervise or work with children in the archdiocese.
Joint status conference
Meanwhile, parties in the more than 150 Guam clergy sex abuse lawsuits filed against the church and others are pursuing mediation to settle the cases out of court.
A joint status conference is for Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 9:30 a.m. at the District Court of Guam.