Vatican tribunal finds Archbishop Apuron of Guam guilty of abuse

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

Vatican tribunal found Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of Agana, Guam, guilty of
some of the accusations made against him, accusations which included the
sexual abuse of minors.

After a canonical
trial conducted by the apostolic
tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Vatican judges imposed
the following sanctions on the 72-year-old archbishop: the removal from office and
a prohibition from residing
in Guam. The archbishop can appeal the sentence.

Archbishop Apuron
is among the highest-ranking church leaders to have been tried by the Vatican
for sexual offenses.

In a press statement
released March 16, the tribunal said, “The canonical trial in the matter
of accusations, including accusations of sexual abuse of minors, brought
against the Most Reverend Anthony Sablan Apuron, O.F.M.Cap., Archbishop of Agana,
Guam, has been concluded.”

“The apostolic tribunal
of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, composed of five judges, has
issued its sentence of first instance, finding the accused guilty of certain of
the accusations and imposing upon the accused the penalties of privation of
office and prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam.” U.S.
Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, a noted canon lawyer, was the presiding judge in the
canonical investigation of Archbishop Apuron.

“The sentence remains
subject to possible appeal,” the Vatican statement said. “In the absence of an appeal,
the sentence becomes final and effective. In the case of an appeal, the imposed
penalties are suspended until final resolution.”

Archbishop Apuron had been
accused of sexually abusing several boys in the 1970s, and, in early January,
one of the archbishop’s nephews publicly claimed the archbishop had sexually
abused him in 1990. Archbishop Apuron continually has denied the abuse

Pope Francis placed Archbishop
Apuron on leave in June 2016 after the accusations were made public. The pope named an apostolic
administrator to run the archdiocese for several months and then named
Coadjutor Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes, a former auxiliary bishop of Detroit,
to take over.

Until the Vatican court
handed down its sentence, Archbishop Apuron had continued to hold the title of archbishop
of Agana, but did not hold the faculties, rights or obligations pertaining to the office, because they
had been granted to Archbishop Byrnes.

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