It’s been a year since former altar boy Roy Quintanilla accused Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron of sexually abusing him in the 1970s.
Over the past year, not only has the Vatican promptly stepped in but it has also placed a global spotlight on Guam’s clergy sex abuses.
“We’ve come a long way,” Quintanilla said. “We wouldn’t have come this far were it not for the Catholic community’s support. It’s amazing what we can do as a community.”
In a predominantly Catholic community, publicly accusing any priest, much less the Guam archbishop for some 30 years, was unthinkable, until Quintanilla and other former Agat altar boys stepped forward.
A year later, 66 clergy sex abuse lawsuits involving 11 Guam Catholic priests including Apuron have been filed in local and federal courts.
Pope Francis suspended Apuron about three weeks after Quintanilla accused the archbishop.
The Vatican has also put Apuron on a groundbreaking canonical penal trial. The trial could wrap up as early as this summer, a member of the Vatican tribunal told those who testified in the Apuron trial.
Former altar boys Walter Denton and Roland Sondia accused Apuron of raping them in the 1970s. Doris Concepcion, mother of a now deceased former altar boy, accused Apuron of molesting her son.
“Were it not for Apuron’s arrogance, I believe this would have ended rather quickly,” Concerned Catholics of Guam President David Sablan said. “If only Apuron had been more humble and showed humility and apologized to the victims because that’s what the victims were waiting for at the time. Instead, he threatened to sue them.”
Sablan said the “silver lining” in Apuron’s “arrogance” was that Guam, and even the Vatican, now knows the extent of clergy sex abuses on the island and the community has come together to help clean the Catholic church.
“We will not stop until the church has been purified and the remaining clergy are truly spiritual leaders,” Sablan said.
Concerned Catholics of Guam, Laity Forward Movement, Silent No More and other individual Catholics, along with blogger Tim Rohr, helped former altar boys such as the Apuron accusers expose clergy sex abuses decades back.
The world’s largest and oldest network of clergy sex abuse survivors called the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, said Guam is unique because it is the only place in the world where Catholics — not survivors — led the charge for transparency.
“Guam’s strong anti-strategic lawsuit against public participation legislation and the strength of the civil legislation will keep whistle blowers and witnesses safe as well,” said Joelle Casteix, volunteer western regional director for the St. Louis-based SNAP. “No one who comes forward should have to fear that they are going to be ‘sued into bankruptcy.”
THIS WEEK IN SEX ABUSE OF CHILDREN BY PEDOPHILE CATHOLIC PRIESTS [MAY 27, 2017]
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USA TODAY–May 20, 2017
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Database of Publicly Accused Priests in the United States
National Survivor Advocates Coalition
Article Source: Your Perception Is Not Reality