Updated: Jul 28, 2016
By Krystal Paco
Justice shouldn’t have an expiration date – that sentiment echoed all morning at the Guam Legislature during a public hearing for a substituted version of Bill 326. The legislation would lift the statute of limitations for child sex abuse cases, and its introduction follows recent public accusations of molestation made against Archbishop Anthony Apuron.
And as was revealed today, one of the alleged victims almost took his secret to the grave.
Annabelle Cruz is a longtime social worker, and says that it’s not unusual for child victims of sexual abuse, especially boys, to go their whole lives without sharing their stories. Cruz and a dozen others testified in support of a substituted version of Bill 326. “Most child victims, especially male child victims, won’t tell. The majority of male victims will not tell. In fact, they would go to their grave having never opened their mouth because of the implications of disclosure.”
A perfect example of this can be seen with alleged victim Joseph “Sonny” Quinata. Quinata passed away, but it was only on his death bed did he allegedly tell his mother, Doris Concepcion, that he was molested by Archbishop Apuron. Sonny along with Roy Quintanilla, Walter Denton and Roland Sondia were all altar boys at Mount Carmel Parish in Agat when they were allegedly molested by Apuron, who was a priest at the time.
Testifying on Sonny’s behalf was his younger brother, John Michael Quinata. Quinata was only 8 and Sonny was 9. That morning, Quinata remembers Sonny coming home from a sleepover at Apuron’s house, saying, “He said, ‘father Apuron touched me.’ He said he was hurting badly and could not use the bathroom. I did not understand what he was saying at the time. I was eight years old. What did he mean by the bathroom or the pain? I knew when he came home that morning, he changed.”
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