Guam archbishop rejects abuse allegations, hires U.S. law firm

Guam archbishop rejects abuse allegations, hires U.S. law firm

The Archbishop of Agana in Guam calls abuse allegations by a deacon "intentional lies," while the archdiocese has hired a law firm and is working with an independent investigator.

HAGATNA, Guam — The Archdiocese of Agana is working with a law firm as well as an independent investigator after Archbishop Anthony Apuron was accused of decades-old sexual abuse.

Deacon Steve Martinez said last week that the archbishop — the highest leader of the Catholic Church in Guam — was protecting himself and intentionally kept the archdiocese’s sexual abuse policy weak, the Pacific Daily News reported.

A Friday statement from the archdiocese called Martinez’s accusation false.

“We are working with one of the most prominent U.S. legal firms to address these issues and with an independent investigator to inquire about this allegation and these rumors,” the statement said.

“These intentional lies oblige the Archbishop to take appropriate and immediate canonical measures in regard to Stephen Martinez.”

The statement does not address Martinez by his title of deacon, and it’s unclear whether the law firm or investigator will probe the statements of abuse.

Apuron denies the abuse allegations and is not charged with any crime.

The archbishop has been accused of molesting Roy Quintanilla about 40 years ago and the now-dead son of an Arizona woman in the 1970s.

Now a 52-year-old Hawaii resident, Quintanilla says he was a 12-year-old altar boy when Apuron molested him.

Apuron had removed Martinez from his position as sexual abuse response coordinator.

“Perhaps the true test of competence would be to rapidly commence an independent and professional investigation of the sex abuse allegations brought forward in 2015 and 2016,” Martinez said.

The archdiocese said last month that current sexual abuse response coordinator Deacon Larry Claros was informed and organizing next steps.

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