Vatican permanently removes Apuron as Guam archbishop, upholds child sex abuse conviction

The Vatican permanently removed Anthony S. Apuron as Guam's archbishop, stripped him of his title as bishop, and banned him from ever returning to the Archdiocese of Agana for sexual abuse of minors.

Rome on Thursday announced that a tribunal upheld the guilty verdict on Apuron, 73.

The Tribunal of Second Instance's decision was made on Feb. 7, 2019, and is considered final.

"This decision represents the definitive conclusion in this case. No further appeals are possible," the Vatican said.

Apuron: I'm deeply saddened

Apuron, in a statement, maintains his innocence and likens his exile from Guam to a "death sentence" for him.

"I am deeply saddened by the decision of the Holy Father to confirm the decision of the court of first instance," Apuron said in a statement emailed Thursday night by his counsel, Jacqueline Terlaje.

Apuron led Guam's Catholic Church for some 30 years before he was suspended in 2016 after former Agat altar boys came forward, saying Apuron raped or abused them when they were minors. More of his victims, including his own nephew, came forward later.

He appealed the conviction in 2018. The appeal has been concluded, the Vatican said.

"I totally submit to the judgment of the Holy Father as I thank him for allowing me to continue serving as a priest and archbishop without insignia. This sentence exiles me from my beloved Guam: a penalty analogous to a death sentence for me. I lose my homeland, my family, my church, my people, even my language, and I remain alone in complete humiliation, old and in fai...

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