Pope suspends bishop

Church takes hard stand against abuse

THE head of the Roman Catholic Church in Guam has been suspended over allegations of sexual impropriety. Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron, who has led the Agana Archdiocese for 30 years, has stepped down temporarily – the first Roman Catholic leader in the region to face new tough steps put in place by Pope Francis.

Last month Islands Business highlighted the growing allegations against Apuron which culminated in public claims that he had molested at least one altar boy in the 1970s.

Now the Vatican has ordered Apuron to stand aside while investigations are carried out ton determine the veracity of claims made by 52-year-old Roy Taitague Quintanilla.

In a public statement, Qunitanilla claimed that while he was an altar boy Apuron molested him. “I cried then, and I’ve never stopped crying,” Quintanilla said. Pope Francis has named a Vatican official to oversee the Catholic Church in the Pacific island territory while the charges are investigated.

The decision came less than a month after the Vatican announced that the Pope had signed off on new measures to remove bishops who fail to respond to abuse allegations. In Guam, however, the accusations are that Apuron himself abused boys while he was a parish priest during the 1970s. 

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