2017 Year in Review – Story No. 5: Vatican tribunal, $500M in sex abuse lawsuits

Guam Daily Post

December 30, 2017

By Mindy Aguon

Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes had hoped 2017 would be a year of reparation. It turned into a year of more than 100 sex abuse lawsuits, a canonical trial and efforts to fix a broken Catholic Church on Guam.

At the start of the year, Byrnes gave the island’s Catholic faithful assurance that he would work to regain their “tremendous loss of trust” in the Catholic Church, after suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron left the island amid allegations that he sexually abused altar boys decades ago when he was a priest.

Apuron faces penal charges in connection with the allegations, prompting a Vatican tribunal’s visit to Guam in February to interview Apuron’s accusers and other individuals related to their inquiry.

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the judge of the tribunal; Rev. Justin Wachs, the notary; and other members of the Vatican tribunal came to Guam in hopes of gaining insight into the allegations made against Apuron and to hear from his accusers personally. The interviews with Apuron’s accusers occurred off-island several weeks later.

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