Priest investigating Apuron accused of sexual harassment


Updated: Aug 03, 2017

By Krystal Paco

A Vatican official recently on Guam and charged with investigating Archbishop Anthony Apuron stands accused of sexual harassment.

Father Justin Wachs previously worked in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. According to Keloland TV, the alleged incidents occurred in 2014 and his accuser is a woman who worked at the parish. The woman alleges the priest would hug her daily, hold her hand, touch her leg, and touch her neck and back down to her waist. The priest also allegedly sent romantic texts during his trips away from the parish.

Wachs, however would be re-assigned to the Vatican. Among his new duties was to investigate the allegations made against Apuron.

In February, Wachs joined Cardinal Raymond L. Burke and Father James Conn on Guam for Apuron’s canonical trial. Though the group attempted to meet with Apuron’s accusers here, they were unsuccessful. They would eventually meet with accusers in the states over the next few months. The canonical trial is near complete, as confirmed by the Archdiocese of Agana who reported a decision should be out any day now.

The matter is unsettling for SNAP’s Joelle Casteix who issued a statement.

“Fr. Justin Wachs, the Notary in Archbishop Anthony Apuron’s Canonical Trial, was presented to these brave survivors and the public as a trustworthy person who, survivors assumed, had never been accused of sexual misconduct. The brave men told Wachs their deeply personal stories of sexual abuse and betrayal. They trusted the Vatican and its representatives so much, that they agreed to speak without their attorneys in the room. The presence of Fr. Wachs—without his disclosing the accusations against him to the survivors, their attorneys, and the Catholic faithful—was a complete violation of that trust.”

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