A Vatican tribunal has found Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, who was accused of sexual abuse, guilty of “certain of the accusations” against him, and removed him from office.
A five-judge panel of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) announced the verdict on Friday and imposed upon the archbishop “the penalties of privation of office and prohibition of residence in the Archdiocese of Guam”.
Archbishop Apuron has headed the Archdiocese of Agaña since 1986, but was placed on leave by Pope Francis in 2016 after a series of abuse accusations from young men.
In October 2016, Michael Byrnes was appointed as coadjutor archbishop to run the diocese in Apuron’s stead.
A source told The Catholic Herald that Archbishop Apuron will appeal the verdict, and remains Archbishop of Agaña while he does so.
The accusations against the archbishop ranged from the most serious allegations of child abuse to less serious accusations. The CDF rejected most of the accusations, and has not revealed of which ones he is guilty.
In a statement, the archbishop said: “I have been informed of the conclusion of the first instance canonical trial against me. While I am relieved that the tribunal dismissed the majority of the accusations against me, I have appealed the verdict. God is my witness; I am innocent and I look forward to proving my innocence in the appeals process.
“Today, my prayers are with the Church in Guam, which has been suffering greatly. I pray that Santa Marian Kamalen may intercede for the healing of our island.”