New allegations of sex abuse leveled by the mother of an alleged victim of Archbishop Anthony Apuron prompted responses from the Archdiocese of Agana and by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).
In a statement, Joelle Casteix, western regional director of SNAP, said, "Our hearts ache for Doris Concepcion, who has so bravely spoken out about the abuse her son endured."
In its response, the Archdiocese of Agana stated: “Another malicious and calumnious accusation against the archbishop has surfaced; this time from the mother of a man who has been deceased for 11 years. The archbishop strongly denies this accusation as he had done so before.”
On May 17, former Guam resident Roy Quintanilla alleged he had been molested by the archbishop 40 years ago when Apuron was a priest at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Agat and Quintanilla was a 12-year-old altar boy.
Casteix said it is time for the Vatican and Pope Francis to adhere to their promises of child safety. “They must immediately step in and publicly remove Apuron from his office until a complete and independent investigation is complete,” he said.
Casteix also said Apuron should and must do the right thing and voluntarily step aside in the meantime. “No cleric, especially an archbishop, should remain in ministry when he has two credible allegations of abuse that have not been investigated.”
In its statement, the archdiocese said that the reason for the “fierce attacks” is due to the removal of the administration of the Cathedral-Basilica, the basilica museum and the Catholic cemeteries three years ago.
“Tim Rohr and his associates launched a 'vicious and calumnious attack' on the archbishop and the church,” the statement says.
The statement also refers to the selling of the Yona seminary to cover debts incurred at the hands of the former administration. According to the statement, this was the beginning of the “malicious campaign to denounce and attack the archbishop at whatever cost to get him out of the way.”
In his statement, Casteix said: “Parents of sexual abuse victims carry an awful and painful burden. Ms. Concepcion only wanted the best for her son. She had no idea that she was possibly putting her child in the path of a predator.”
The SNAP statement also said, “Two brave people have now come forward to allege child sexual abuse at the hands of Archbishop Apuron. The time for ‘internal investigations,’ bullying parishioners, and maintaining the status quo is over.
“We implore other victims to come forward to law enforcement and civil authorities. As Roy Quintanilla and Doris Concepcion have shown Guam's victims of abuse, help and support are available,” Casteix wrote.
The statement from the Archdiocese said, “The perpetrators of the calumnies have resorted to insults and violence revealing their true intention to destroy the Catholic Church and discredit the archbishop by whatever means. Their method is to confuse and mislead the faithful, even to the point of inducing some to bring false testimony. This was predicted even before the first accusation was revealed. The archdiocese is in the process of taking canonical and legal measures against those perpetrating these malicious lies.”
A note purported to be from an attorney in the Northern Mariana Island said that even though the alleged victim Joseph Quinata has died, the statements he made to his mother about the abuse that allegedly happened when he was 11 years old would be admissible in a court of law because they were made in the face of imminent death. Quinata reportedly died of an illness shortly after he made the statements.