News Headlines > Pope appoints apostolic administrator to archdiocese facing abuse allegations

07 June 2016 | by Catholic News Service

Pope appoints apostolic administrator to archdiocese facing abuse allegations

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Archbishop Apuron strongly denies the allegations of historic child sex abuse

Pope Francis has appointed an aspostolic administrator after an archbishop denied allegations of historic child sex abuse in the Pacific island archdiocese of Agana, Guam.

Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron said he had requested the appointment of an apostolic administrator "pending the investigation of an abuse allegation", a statement posted on the archdiocesan website said.

In mid-May, Roy Quintanilla told the media that Archbishop Apuron had sexually abused him 40 years ago when he was a 12-year-old altar server at a parish in Agat, Guam, where then-Father Apuron was parish priest.

In a video statement 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."

Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai (pictured), secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, to be apostolic administrator of the archdiocese, although he has not removed Apuron from office.

"The archdiocese and the archbishop warmly welcome Archbishop Hon to Guam," the statement on the archdiocesan website said.

Three days earlier, the Archdiocese of Agana issued a statement announcing it had hired a US-based lawyer and investigator to look into and potentially respond to comments about the archbishop made by Deacon Stephen Martinez, who had served as coordinator of the archdiocese sexual abuse response team until 2014.

"To state, as Stephen Martinez did, that the sexual abuse policy of the archdiocese was kept weak purposefully by the archbishop to protect himself is a calumny of such magnitude that the only avenue, which we are following, is recourse to the civil and canonical legal processes to address these intentional lies," the archdiocese's statement said.

The statement added that Martinez had been the archdiocesan finance officer, a position the statement claimed he handled with "glaring incompetence".

Just days ago Pope Francis issued a new Church law stating that bishops can be removed from office if they fail to act over child sex abuse cases.

Guam is a US island territory in the Western Pacific.

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