Apuron sold Mangilao property while church finalizes sex case settlement
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
Former archbishop Antony Apuron, who has been defrocked after being convicted of sex abuse, has managed to liquidate his asset in Mangilao months after the Vatican upheld his conviction in 2019.
A warranty deed shows that Apuron's 3,251-square meter property in Acadao was sold to a certain Raymond Benavente for $465,465 on Nov. 2, 2019.
In April 2019, the Vatican permanently stripped Apuron of his rank as bishop and ordered him banished from Guam after being convicted of sexually abusing minors.
“This decision represents the definitive conclusion in this case,” the Vatican said in affirming the verdict against the former archbishop of Archdiocese of Agana.
While the Vatican's order brought closure to Apuron's case, the archdiocese is finalizing the settlement of consolidated civil actions filed by those who claimed they were raped or sexually molested by priests and other clergymen when they were minors, dating back to 1950s.
David Sablan, president of Concerned Catholics of Guam, said Apuron "should pay into the victims' settlement fund."
"Capuchins are in an order of brotherhood, who take a vow of poverty. So, their organization is responsible for their actions," Sablan said. "The secular priests or commonly known also as diocesan priests do not take that vow of poverty, so they can own assets and amass a fortune if they wanted. Apuron is a Capuchin, but was dispensed by the Pope when he was elevated to archbishop, so he can own property."
Last week, the archdiocese presented its revised compensation plan of up to $34 million for more than 250 sex abuse survivors, most of whom were altar servers, whose total demand for minimum damages was estimated to reach half a billion.
The archdiocese, which has filed for bankruptcy in 2019, has listed some of its prime properties for sale to raise the settlement fund. Last year, the court approved the sale of the former Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Yona for $6.1 million.