Apuron’s victims: Locked in a room with a priest on a run

The Worthy Adversary

August 3, 2017 Joelle Casteix

Fr. Justin Wachs was hiding out. After getting caught sexually harassing a parishioner in 2014—touching her without permission and leaving her suggestive notes— he quit his job as pastor in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Church officials thought the “geographic solution” would be best: get him as far away from Sioux Falls as possible. They even had a job for him: investigate allegations of sexual abuse.

Where did he end up? Guam and Hawaii. Locked in rooms with the victims of Archbishop Anthony Apuron … rooms where their attorney, David Lujan, was not allowed.

I have been very vocal in my criticism of the Canonical Trial of suspended Guam Archbishop Anthony Apuron.

For those of you just catching up, Apuron has been accused of child sexual abuse by at least four boys. He’s out of the office for now, replaced by Detroit native Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes.

The trial process, which will take months—if not years—to complete, is not a criminal process like you or I know it. It is not public, there is no jury, there is no prison sentence.

In fact, I believe that in the end, the decision will be to allow Apuron to live a life of “prayer and penance” on the mainland. And I am betting that the decision will be kept secret.

What does that mean? Whatever Apuron wants it to mean.

Remember: this is not a criminal proceeding. No one is going to drag him off in handcuffs. Most likely, he will collect his retirement and frolic around the mainland, untouched.

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