Church Says There's a Plot to Topple the Archbishop
By Sabrina Salas Matanane
June 3, 2016
The Archdiocese of Agana claims years of attacks and recent allegations made against Archbishop Anthony Apuron are part of malicious smear campaign against him and a plot to take him down.
Following a press conference held by the former sex abuse response coordinator for the Archdiocese of Agana, Deacon Stephen Martinez, the archdiocese is firing back. Martinez claimed the sex abuse policy was flawed because the archbishop essentially has the final say in all complaints that are filed and investigated. Two people have come forward alleging allegations of sexual molestation against the archbishop when he was a priest at Mount Carmel Church in Agat decades ago.
The archdiocese says Martinez's allegation that the policy was kept weak purposely by the archbishop to protect himself is slanderous and their only recourse is civil and canonical legal processes to address what they call are intentional lies. According to a media release the archdiocese is working with one of the most prominent US legal firms to address these issues and with an independent investigator to inquire about this allegation and these rumors.
The church meanwhile is also accusing Martinez of being part of a conspiracy or the "Rohr Group" to topple the archbishop. Tim Rohr operates the JungleWatch blog, which has been critical of the archbishop over the last several years.
The church further claims Martinez, who was the former archdiocesan financial officer was incompetent in his position and for six years in a row failed to submit required financial reports to the Vatican. The archdiocese alleges this finance council conspired to sell the Yona seminary property in order to cover their financial misdeeds. So where does Rohr fit in?
According to the church they allege he had a personal interest in the plan and was supposed to be involved in the multi-million dollar sale as a real estate mediator. You may remember the sudden removal of Monsignor James Benavente - the archdiocese now claims that his removal allowed the archdiocese to uncover the mismanagement and angered those who had a vested interest in the sale of the seminary property, "Thus the group condemning the archbishop today is working towards his demise and has continued with a relentlessly malicious smear campaign".
The archdiocese says the archbishop is being persecuted because he is cleaning up the church we all love. The press release meanwhile did not make mention of Roy Quintanilla and Doris Concepcion, the two who came forward with the molestation allegations against the archbishop. It was not specific as to whether they are included in the independent investigation.
In an e-mail response, Father Adrian Cristobal stated at this time the archdiocese is not providing the specifics of the investigation but assures that they are applying the sex abuse policy in the area.
In response to the archdiocese's latest press release, Rohr tells KUAM News, "I am very glad that they actually accused me of something publicly. I've been looking for an opportunity to play offense.
Deacon Martinez issued the following response:
"The keyword is incompetence.
- Archbishop was incompetent when he failed to investigate his own violation of the sex abuse policy regarding notification, that I advised him of in 2014.
- The Archbishop was incompetent when he failed to do the required background check on Fr John Wadeson before bringing him into the Archdiocese
- The Archbishop was incompetent when he failed to do a required psychological evaluation on Fr John Wadeson.
- The Archbishop was incompetent when he failed to do required background checks and psychological evaluations for all seminarians in Yona.
- The Archbishop was incompetent when he failed to update the sexual abuse policy to address the issue of conflict of interest should there ever be an allegation against the Archbishop or any person involved in the administration of the sex abuse policy.
- The Archbishop was incompetent when he failed to promptly investigate the allegation against Fr Luis Camacho.
- The Archbishop was incompetent when he allowed Fr Luis Camacho to minister to youth in Qatar.
- The Archbishop was incompetent when he failed to initiate an investigation into the allegation by Roy Quintanilla and Doris Concepcion.
- The Archbishop was incompetent when he failed to provide a support person to Roy Quintanilla and Doris Concepcion.
- The Archbishop was incompetent when he attacked the accusing victims, rather than reach out to them with care and support.
- The Archbishop was incompetent when he failed to step aside as the accused until the investigation has been completed.
Perhaps the true test of competence would be to rapidly commence an independent and professional investigation of the sex abuse allegations brought forward in 2015 and 2016."