Breaking News: Archdiocese of Agana Acknowledges Raymond Cepeda Stripped of Priesthood after " Serious Allegations of Abuse"

Pacific Daily News
April 22, 2010

The Archdiocese of Agana, in a statement just minutes ago, confirmed that Raymond Cepeda was stripped of his priesthood in December last year as a result of an investigation into "serious allegations of abuse."

"Unfortunately, Guam has not been immune from the problems that we have been reading about in other communities. At the conclusion of an investigation of serious allegations of abuse by Father Raymond Cepeda, the archdiocese had Father Raymond laicized in December of 2009. He is no longer a priest," according to the archdiocese's statement.

Laicize is a process to reduce one's status to a lay person.

"The archdiocese has reported the case to civil authorities so we cannot comment at this time," according to the archdiocese.

In February, the archdiocese said: "To date, no member of the clergy on Guam has been charged with or convicted of sexual abuse."

"Public concern about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church both here in Guam and in other parts of the world has risen in recent weeks and in response, the archdiocese of Agana is committed to redoubling its efforts to reach out to victims of sexual abuse in the community and take steps to appropriately punish those who have betrayed their trust."

The archdiocese also released a letter from the Capuchin Franciscans about two priests who were assigned to Guam and faced abuse allegations that came up elsewhere - not on Guam.

Father Randolph Nowak was barred from engaging in public ministry in 2004 "for reasons that arose elsewhere - not in Guam, according to the archdiocese."

Father Andrew Mannetta was barred from engaging in public ministry in 2002 because of abuse allegations brought by an individual who is not a minor at the time of the alleged abuse, according to the archdiocese. At the time of the alleged abuse, Mannetta had an assignment in the Archdiocese of Honolulu, but he once served on Guam, according to the Archdiocese of Agana.

Mannetta left the Capuchin community in 2007, according to the Archdiocese of Agana.

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