The Archbishop of Guam says he welcomes the appointment of a Vatican administrator to run the Church on the Pacific island pending an investigation into allegations he sexually abused young boys decades ago, reports The Catholic Herald.
In a video shot in St Peter’s Square, Archbishop Anthony Apuron spoke to his flock in the US territory, insisting he remained their Archbishop and was a “victim of these horrible calumnies.”
Pope Francis on Monday named a high-ranking Vatican official to take over the Agana archdiocese after abuse allegations against Archbishop Apuron resurfaced in recent weeks. A church deacon publicly accused Archbishop Apuron of keeping the archdiocese’s sex abuse policy weak to protect himself.
The Archbishop has accused the deacon, Stephen Martinez, of being part of a conspiracy to oust him over a soured property deal.
In mid-May, Roy Quintanilla told the media that Archbishop Apuron had sexually abused him 40 years ago when Mr Quintanilla was a 12-year-old altar server at a parish in Agat, Guam, where then-Fr Apuron was pastor, Catholic News Service reports.
In a statement released hours later, Archbishop Apuron said, “To be absolutely clear and to avoid any misinterpretations of my statement, I deny all allegations of sexual abuse by Roy Quintanilla.”
Photo: Archbishop Anthony Apuron at the Vatican in 2012 (CNS)
Archbishop of Guam denies abuse allegations and welcomes Vatican envoy (The Catholic Herald)