Archbishop Apuron still denies allegations, gets Papal audience
Secret Vatican trial may not have reached a conclusion
Vatican City-- According to a report in the Vatican Insider newspaper, Archbishop Anthony Apuron brought into a Vatican hall by wheelchair, got a friendly greeting from Pope Francis on Feb. 8.
The newspaper account repeated Apuron's previous denials of any wrongdoing in the various sexual abuse cases brought against various Guam church figures including himself, and his suggestions that he was on the verge of dying and wanted to make peace with God. “Holy Father, I wanted to see you before dying,” the newspaper quotes Apuron as saying.
Accusations specifically involving Apuron include that of Mark Apuron, a nephew, claiming he was raped, now stand at five. Four former altar servers claim they were abused at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Guam, where then Father Apuron was pastor.
The mystery continues over the outcome--if there is one--of the secret trial of Apuron at the Vatican, conducted by five bishops and overseen by American Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, whom the pope sent to the island to investigate the case.
Apuron’s trial should have been finished last August with the release of a sentence. Months ago, Archbishop Michael J. Byrnes, said the trial’s notary had reported that “the sentence has been determined.”
More than 160 lawsuits making similar claims against Guam church figures have been filed to date.