The Vatican announced recently that a canonical trial has commenced concerning Guam’s former Archbishop Apuron and the trial will be lengthy, perhaps spanning several years.
However, that contradicts what media outlets have discovered. Under the guise of searching for a missing dog, reporters have located Archbishop living in a two-story house in Fairfield, California. There is video footage circulating on the Internet and this new revelation makes it difficult to square with the Vatican’s assertion that there is indeed a canonical trial involving Archbishop Apuron. How do I know this? I was involved in a canonical trial in connection with my representation of a sexual abuse survivor a few years ago.
A canonical trial, like most civil or criminal trials, requires the presence or at least the participation of all parties involved in the case.
The Catholic Church has responded through Apuron’s lawyer concerning his whereabouts, sort of. This afternoon, Attorney Jacque Terlaje provided a statement to KUAM: “As you are aware, I am legal counsel for Archbishop Anthony Apuron, OFM Cap. D.D. In response to your inquires(sic) regarding his whereabouts, the Archbishop is in a location where he is able to continue working on defending his innocence without distraction.”
What does that statement mean? It seems to me that if Apuron were innocent of any wrongdoing in the Guam sexual abuse tragedy, he’d be in Rome defending himself. He certainly wouldn’t be hiding in a previously undisclosed location in California.
For abuse survivors, Archbishop Apuron’s reticence has all the markings of what survivors have come to expect from the Catholic Church-cover-up, obfuscation, and a public relations campaign that is no better than a “don’t confuse me with the facts” campaign. This only weakens the Church’s position in handling sex abuse cases. It fans the flames of justice which inch closer and closer to the former Archbishop himself.
Photo Credit via Guam Archdiocese’s Website