“Archbishop Anthony Apuron, who is facing five sex abuse lawsuits in the district court, broke his silence on Thursday, denying all allegations against him.
“As I lay sick after another surgery and I face the final judgment approaching evermore close, having lost interest in this world, God is my witness: I deny all allegations of sexual abuse made against me, including this last one,” Apuron said in a statement.
He issued the statement on the heels of the latest lawsuit from his estranged nephew, Mark Apuron, who alleged the archbishop sexually abused him during a gathering at the Chancery Office when he was a teenager in 1990.“All these events are helping me to direct my hope towards the only righteous judge, and for this I am very thankful,” Apuron said. “I am saddened, however, by the timing of this latest accusation that alleges an act which supposedly happened in incredible circumstances and surroundings.”
The Archdiocese of Hagåtña said Archbishop Michael Byrnes of has alerted the Vatican about the newest case.
“All subsequent information the archdiocese receives regarding this case will be forwarded expeditiously to Rome, adhering to our new, strengthened sexual abuse policy,” the archdiocese said in a statement.
Apuron also faced a canonical trial in the Vatican for similar allegations.
Vatican officials informed Byrnes late last year that the Vatican Tribunal had determined a verdict in Archbishop Apuron’s case.
Apuron claimed all allegations against him “have been mentored and promoted by the same source and this one seems particularly timed to influence the verdict of the Vatican trial conducted by the Holy See, as a last resort out of fear that I may be exonerated.”
Lawsuits were filed by former altar boys who alleged Apuron molested them when he was a priest at Mount Carmel Church in the 1970s.
“All allegations of sexual abuse brought to the attention of our archdiocese are important because of the grave, irreversible harm all victims of abuse suffer at the hands of persons they once trusted,” Byrnes said in a statement. “We are committed to protecting all children and young people entrusted to our care and to not repeat the serious failings of the past.”
The archdiocese said as part of its new, vigorous policy against sexual abuse is to implement mandatory on-line training of all personnel at Catholic schools, parishes and offices under the national Virtus program. The Virtus program includes background checks of all employees and volunteers who supervise or work with children in the archdiocese.”