Apuron accusers provide testimony to Vatican tribunal for Apuron trialWritten by Janela Carrera
Guam - Some of the alleged victims who accused Archbishop Anthony Apuron of sexual abuse have already provided their testimony to a tribunal leading the canonical trial of the suspended archbishop. We spoke Walter Denton who was among the first to share his emotional story of surviving sexual assault.
Denton, along with three other people, came out to share their story of sexual abuse at the hands of none other than the shepherd of Guam’s archdiocese, Archbishop Anthony Apuron. The details were disturbing but each of them wanted to share their story to expose the leader of Guam’s church. It was their very public statements that paved the way for what is now the canonical trial of Apuron.
Denton tells PNC that he provided testimony to a Vatican tribunal exactly a month ago. He met with Cardinal Raymond Burke, a canon lawyer who’s leading the investigation into sex abuse allegations against Apuron, and other members of the tribunal at the Archdiocese in San Francisco.
Although Denton could not provide details of what exactly was discussed, he explains that the story he shared with the tribunal is the exact same story he shared with the public. As a young altar boy in Agat in the 1970s, Denton says while sleeping over at the Mt. Carmel rectory, Apuron, a priest at the time, raped him.
Speaking about his meeting with Cardinal Burke last month, Denton said, “When I went into the room, I sat down, they went around the room and introduced themselves. Cardinal Burke made me feel very comfortable throughout the process of my testimony. Of course they asked a lot of questions and I spent two to three hours there. They were very receptive to what I said. I spoke to them and expressed my testimony like I was talking to Apuron himself.”
Denton says he was not told when he would hear back from the tribunal as far as Apuron’s trial, but he noted that prior to his meeting with the tribunal, there were others that provided their testimonies. He also says that the tribunal then headed to Washington D.C. and New York to gather more testimonies from other individuals.
The tribunal visited Guam in February in an effort to obtain the testimony of other Apuron accusers. The tribunal, made up of Cardinal Burke, Father James Conn and Father Justin Wachs, were scheduled to meet with Roland Sondia, who accused Apuron of sexual abuse. No testimony was taken, however, as Sondia did not want to provide his testimony without his attorney David Lujan present—which goes directly against the practice of the Vatican. Instead of providing a deposition, Lujan and Sondia met with the tribunal to discuss alternatives to a deposition.
Earlier this year, Apuron was spotted in California after months of hiding. His legal counsel, Attorney Jacque Terlaje said Apuron was at the time staying in a place where he could “continue working on defending his innocence without distraction.”