Archbishop Anthony Apuron © Paul Haring (KNA)
He is archbishop on the island of Guam and was deposed for abuse of minors. Now Archbishop Anthony Apuron is fighting back against the final decision.
He is innocent and the victim of a "coordinated campaign" against him, former Agana Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, 73, wrote on the Pacific island of Guam in a statement released Thursday.
No resision possible
As the Vatican announced shortly before, the congregation's court already confirmed a first-instance verdict from March 2018 in early February. Apuron objected to this at the time.
The sentence includes several penalties. Thus, Apuron has been stripped of his office as archbishop of Guam and is no longer allowed to be on the territory of the archdiocese, even temporarily. He remains a priest and bishop, but is no longer allowed to wear the insignia of a bishop; this includes the crozier, pectoral cross and miter. The verdict is no longer subject to appeal.
Several former altar boys had accused Apuron of sexually abusing them when he was a parish priest in the 1970s. The archbishop denied this and refused to resign.
Apuron maintains "total innocence"
Pope Francis provided him with a coadjutor, U.S. Michael Byrnes, in October 2016. In early 2017, the pope commissioned U.S. Curia Cardinal Raymond Burke to investigate Guam.
In his statement, Apuron asserts his "total innocence". This was also shown by the "facts and evidence" he presented. On the other hand, there was a "Prere group" on Guam that decided to destroy him.
Several people confessed to having been prered into making false statements, including the offer of monetary payments. Meanwhile, the media on Guam had created a climate of prejudice.