Pope Francis told journalists in August 2018 that he was personally considering the archbishop's appeal and bypassing the traditional "giuria" -- the council of bishops that make up a tribunal -- because Apuron's situation was a "very difficult case."
Instead, Pope Francis said he "took it upon myself" and created a commission of canonists to assist him with the case.
Apuron has maintained his innocence of all the allegations leveled against him.
Apuron was relieved of his pastoral and administrative authority by Pope Francis in 2016, in the wake of the allegations, and was effectively replaced by Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes, formerly of Detroit.
The canonical trial against Apuron began in October 2016, with Cardinal Burke appointed by Pope Francis as the trial's presiding judge. Byrnes told reporters that the Vatican reached a decision on the case in October 2017.
Sources questioned why the CDF waited until March 2018 to finalize sentences apparently completed in mid-2017.
One source close to the Archdiocese of Agana in Guam questioned whether Archbishop Byrnes pushed the Vatican to release the sentence in order to resolve public concern about the matter in Guam.
However, the source questioned whether Byrnes has been appropriately advised on the matter. "Most of the people who were opposed to [Apuron] in terms of governance" have become advisers to Byrnes, the source said.
"The curial advice Byrnes is receiving is institutionally and personally opposed to Apuron."
The most recent allegation against Apuron was made in January 2018 by the archbishop's nephew, Mark Apuron. He filed a lawsuit Jan. 10, 2018 claiming that his uncle raped him in a Church bathroom in 1989 or 1990. This was the fifth lawsuit to accuse the archbishop of sexual abuse of minors during his time as a pastor and bishop.
The archbishop denied the allegations in a statement Jan. 18, 2018 writing, "God is my witness: I deny all allegations of sexual abuse made against me, including this last one," according to Guam Pacific Daily News.
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In addition to this claim, Apuron also faced four other accusations from former altar boys, who charged the archbishop with abuse in the 1970s when he served as a parish priest in Agat.
The first allegations against the archbishop were made public in May 2016. Mark's attorney, David Lujan, said that his client was too ashamed and embarrassed to tell his family about the alleged abuse until recently.
CNA staff contributed to this report.
Hannah Brockhaus is Catholic News Agency's senior Rome correspondent. She grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and has a degree in English from Truman State University in Missouri.