Vatican City, Apr 4, 2019 / 10:01 am
Emeritus Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Agaña said Thursday that despite the failure of his appeal and the confirmation of a conviction against him, he is innocent of sexual abuse against minors.
“I am deeply saddened by the decision of the Holy Father to confirm the decision of the court of first instance,” Apuron said in an April 4 statement on the announcement of his sentencing.
“I believe that the fact and evidence presented demonstrated my total innocence,” he said, noting that he had expected his appeal to be successful.
The Apostolic Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith found Apuron, 73, guilty of some of several abuse-related charges in March 2018. He immediately appealed the decision. The Vatican court upheld the original decision Feb. 7, and the final sentencing was announced April 4 by the CDF.
Apuron was sentenced to privation of the office of Archbishop of Agaña; forbidden from using the insignia attached to the rank of bishop, such as the mitre and ring; and forbidden from living within the jurisdiction of the archdiocese.
He was not removed from ministry or from the clerical state, nor has he been assigned to live in prayer and penance.
Speaking to CNA last year, a source close to the case noted a contradiction between the penalty and the sentence of sexual abuse against minors – a grave delict which usually carries the penalty of removal from the clerical state.
Apuron called the sentence, which prevents him from living in Guam, a penalty “analogous to a death sentence,” adding: “I lose my homeland, my family, my church, my people, even my language, and I remain alone in complete humiliation, old and in failing health.”