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Saturday 21 May 2016 | Published in Regional


GUAM – There are calls for Guam’s Archbishop to stand down after an accusation of historical sexual abuse was made against him.

Archbishop Anthony Apuron is denying the allegation he molested an altar boy 40 years ago.

The allegation was made during an emotional media conference posted on the Pacific Daily News website. The 52-year-old Roy Quintanilla read out a letter addressed to the Archbishop, the most senior person in the Catholic Church in Guam.

“Dear Archbishop Apuron, when I was 12 years old and an altar boy you molested me when you were the pastor of Agat,” he said.

Quintanilla went on to describe how Archbishop Apuron had abused him after asking him to stay the night at his house. He says the abuse left him so confused he later considered suicide.

Quintanilla says he wants the Archbishop to step down and apologise for what he did to him. But in a video statement on the website of the Catholic Archdiocese of Agana in Guam, Archbishop Apuron gave this response: “To be absolutely clear and to avoid any misinterpretations of my statement, I deny all allegations of sexual abuse by Roy Quintanilla.”

Instead, he referred to advertisements run in local newspapers by the group, the Concerned Catholics of Guam, calling on victims of sexual abuse to come forward.

“As predicted these malicious ads have now resulted in a false accusation of sexual abuse.”

The President of the Concerned Catholics of Guam, Gregory Perez, says his group had not known Roy Quintanilla identity before he went public with his allegations. But Perez praises him for speaking out.

“I commend Mr Quintailla for his bravery and his fight against evil and standing up against those kind of acts that prey upon boys and girls especially those in the church. With this coming forward and making that announcement he’s not just trying to heal and seek closure for himself, but he’s also trying to protect other boys and girls.”

Perez says there have been a lot of rumours over the years of abuse within the Catholic Church in Guam but it requires people to come forward to know whether they are more than just rumours. PNC News assistant director Janella Carerra says there has been a previous accusation of abuse made against the Archbishop by a cousin of an alleged victim, and allegations of abuse by other members of the clergy.

“There have been rumours of other clergy members, of sexual abuse. But this was the first time the Archbishop himself was accused publicly by the actual victim.”

Carerra says for 40 years, Quintanilla had thought he was the only victim, but was compelled to come forward when old friends revealed they had also allegedly been sexually abused by the Archbishop.

The US-based group, Survivors Network Of Those Abused by Priests is also applauding Quintanilla’s bravery and is calling on Archbishop Apuron to step down immediately.

- Dateline Pacific