A cardinal and the rest of the members of a Vatican tribunal that came to Guam to investigate sex abuse allegations against suspended Archbishop Anthony Apuron have concluded the Guam part of their inquiry.
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the judge of the tribunal, and other members of his party, left Friday, according to the Archdiocese of Agana.
The tribunal’s Guam visit is part of the canonical trial for Apuron, who faces penal charges in connection with allegations of sexual abuse of altar boys decades ago when he was a Guam priest.
The tribunal “conveyed their appreciation to all individuals whom they interviewed during their work here and encouraged all of Guam’s faithful to remain grounded in Christ,” according to the archdiocese’s statement.
“Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes is pleased that the Vatican is advancing this process,” the archdiocese further stated. “The archdiocese commends all witnesses who have stepped forward to tell their stories. We will continue to redouble our efforts to combat, root out and address sex abuse in the archdiocese.”
“We pray for a speedy and just result,” according to the the archdiocesan statement.
The archdiocese also has completed training for all Catholic schools in Guam on how to respond to allegations of sex abuse involving minors. Part of the new protocol is to immediately notify law enforcement authorities of any such allegations involving the church and students in Catholic schools.
“The Task Force for the Protection of Minors is now focusing on staff and volunteers at the parish level to expand the training,” according to the archdiocese.
Task force members conducted training at its first parish – St. Francis Catholic Church – Saturday morning.
Presentations at other parishes will follow, according to the archdiocese.
In a news conference on Feb. 10, Byrnes had announced that the archdiocese would voluntarily adopt the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. Mandatory training of all adults entrusted with the care of children as well as mandatory audits are important components of the Charter.