Tables have turned: priest involved in investigating Apuron now accused of sexual harassment


Updated: Aug 04, 2017

By Krystal Paco

One of the priests charged with investigating Guam’s Archbishop Anthony Apuron now faces accusations of sexual harassment himself. Could this compromise Apuron’s ongoing canonical trial? It depends on who you ask, as this now has two leading clergy sex abuse victim advocates at odds with one another.

Archbishop Anthony Apuron may be undergoing a canonical trial in Rome, but its Father Justin Wachs, one of the men involved in investigating Apuron, who’s now in the spotlight. On Friday, Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) Western Regional Leader Joelle Casteix firing at the Vatican for failing to put victims first.

According to South Dakota’s Keloland TV, Father Wachs is subject to allegations of sexual harassment. His accuser alleges that in 2014 the priest touched her in ways that made her feel uncomfortable and sent suggestive texts. Wachs then resigned and was assigned to Rome.

Among his duties – serving as notary for the Tribunal – the group tasked with investigating Apuron in light of four allegations of clergy sex abuse.

Wachs, and other Vatican officials met one by one with Apuron’s accusers in closed door meetings earlier this year.

“We were horribly dismayed to find this out,” said Casteix. “This is a horrible breach of trust. We believe that this puts the entire canonical trial in some state of limbo. How can we trust the process if these are the men they put in charge?” She added, “Those victims were not notified. They were not told that Wachs had these allegations against him. The victims were not allowed to have their attorneys present – they were told that the men in the interview were trustworthy.”

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