Vatican team begins probe into sex abuse claims
An investigation team from Vatican left Guam on Feb. 18 after conducting interviews with former altar boys, who accused Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of sexually molesting them in the 1970s.
The team was headed by His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke and an official from the Vatican, as well as three other canon lawyers involved in the investigation preceding the canonical penal trial of Apuron, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Agana.
The investigation was conducted Feb. 16-17, the church said.
“They 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,” the statement reads.
“Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes is pleased that the Vatican is advancing this process. 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,” the statement said.
Having completed training at all Catholic schools, the Archdiocese said the Task Force for the Protection of Minors is now focusing on staff and volunteers at the parish level. Members conducted training at its first parish – St. Francis Catholic Church – on Feb. 18.
In a news conference Feb. 10, Archbishop Byrnes had announced that the Archdiocese would voluntarily adopt the United States 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.