Guam -- Canon lawyers say Vatican verdict against Guam archbishop probably not for sexual abuse: survivors respond
For immediate release Thursday, April 5, 2018
Statement by Tim Lennon, Volunteer President of SNAP’s Board of Directors (415-312-5820 tlennon@SNAPnetwork.org)
Last month a Vatican tribunal found Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Guam "guilty of certain of the accusations" against him. This decision was hailed by some as the first time the Catholic Church had disciplined a bishop alleged to have sexually abused minors. The tribunal removed Apuron from his position and prohibited him from living on Guam. However, this week several canon lawyers have come forward to say that the verdict is unlikely to have been for sexual abuse, because Apuron was not defrocked.
As survivors, we here at SNAP were disappointed, but not surprised, that so little information about the verdict was released and that the sentence was so lenient. The opinions of the canon lawyers only confirms our belief that the Catholic Church continues to place a higher value on its clergy then on the young lives entrusted to their care.
We call for a full disclosure of the allegations for which Apuron was found to be guilty. We further urge every Church official to turn over the contents of their secret files to local law enforcement for investigation and possible prosecution.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 supporters. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
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