The Holy See has made its determination in the canonical trial of Bishop Anthony S. Apuron and has issued a news release through its Vatican press office.
The official news release issued March 16, 2018 by the Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reads as follows:
“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 Agaña, 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.
The sentence remains subject to possible appeal. 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. [00436-EN.01]”
It has been a long and painful period for our Church and our island community in general. This long-awaited announcement by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is very much welcomed. It is a monumental marker in our journey toward healing as one Church, one people in God. I pray that all people would embrace this call for healing.
Though the sentence is subject to appeal by Bishop Apuron, as indicated by the Vatican news release, the Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has clearly and concretely determined a finding of “guilty” regarding “certain of the accusations” made against him.
I extend my prayers as well as gratitude to the courageous individuals and their families who came forward to share their agonizing stories of being abused by then Father Tony Apuron in years past: Mr. Roy Quintanilla, Mr. Walter Denton, Mr. Roland Paul Sondia, and the late Joseph “Sonny” Quinata, represented with deep love by his mom Doris Concepcion.
I offer prayers and thanks as well to Mark M. Apuron, for his brave decision to come forward regarding his uncle.
Regardless of whether there is an appeal or not, our focus shall remain on penance and reparation. I expect to hold a news conference on Monday, March 19, 2018. We shall advise the media on the time. For now, this will be the extent of our message.
Archbishop of Agana
Official press release statement from Archbishop Michael Byrnes
Official statement from the Vatican Bulletin