Supporters defend Benavente

Pacific Daily News

Written by
Gaynor Dumat-ol Daleno
Pacific Daily News

Joseph Rivera, a former member of the Archdiocesan Finance Council, said he’s hurt by the continued attempt by the Archdiocese of Agana to publicly accuse Monsignor James Benavente of mismanaging church funds.

Rivera said he asked the archdiocese to meet privately with Benavente for an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Instead, the archdiocese publicly released more allegations, he said.

Archbishop Anthony Apuron last year fired Benavente as head of the Catholic Cemeteries of Guam and removed him from his post as rector of the Dolce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica, alleging financial mismanagement by Benavente.

Last weekend, the archdiocese publicly released a report which states “grave irregularities were discovered involving the administration of the entities which were formerly administered by Monsignor James Benavente.”

Among other things, the report states there were $7 million in loans to fund projects for the Cathedral-Basilica and Catholic Cemeteries of Guam under Benavente’s watch. It states Benavente gave $380,000 in free cemetery plots to a close friend and family.

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