Hagatna, Guam, Jun 6, 2016 / 15:00 pm
After sex abuse and other allegations were leveled against Guam's archbishop, Pope Francis on Monday appointed a Vatican official to be the local Church's apostolic administrator while an investigation is carried out.
On June 6, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai-Fai, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, was appointed apostolic administrator “sede plena” of the Archdiocese of Agaña, which serves Catholics in Guam, a U.S. island territory in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.
The appointment was made shortly after Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agaña was accused of sexual abuse dating from the 1970s, and of failing to implement strong policies on the handling of clerical sex abuse.
As apostolic administrator “sede plena,” Archbishop Hon will govern the archdiocese because its ordinary is incapable of doing so. Though Archbishop Apuron remains archbishop, he will not exercise his office while Archbishop Hon remains as apostolic administrator.
In May, allegations surfaced against Archbishop Apuron. The accusations were raised by a former altar boy, who said that he was molested at age 12, when he spent the night at a rectory with then-Father Apuron. The alleged incident took place in the mid-1970s in Agat, a town located almost 13 miles southwest of Hagåtña, Guam's capital, when Archbishop Apuron was a parish priest.
Shortly later, another allegation surfaced, also involving a former altar server who had spent the night at the rectory.
Archbishop Apuron has denied the allegations, with a statement from the Agaña archdiocese calling the latter claim a “malicious and calumnious accusation.”
On May 18, Vincent Pereda, a member of the archdiocese's review board, wrote that regarding Quintanilla's accusation, “I believe credible, reasonable cause does exist … that the archbishop had engaged in sexual misconduct,” the Pacific Daily News reported.