Prelate to face Vatican trial on charges of sexual abuse of boys in Guam during’60s/’70s

The Vatican is reportedly preparing to hear the trial of a prelate implicated in sexual abuse on the Pacific island of Guam. Following investigations into the conduct of Archbishop Anthony Apuron of the island’s sole Diocese of Agana, the Apostolic Administrator appointed by Pope Francis to oversee the diocese, Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, has told journalists that the Vatican “just formed all the conditions for the trial [and] I am going to receive some news, some updates later”.

Archbishop Hon’s comments came a day after the Pope appointed US Auxiliary Bishop Michael Byrnes as new coadjutor Archbishop for Agana. 

Archbishop Apuron was first accused in 2014 of abuse of boys in the 1960s and ‘70s and was eventually forced to step aside this year after a deacon came forward to allege that the prelate was working to undermine child protection policies within the diocese so as to protect himself.

Archbishop Apuron has not faced any criminal charges in Guam and continues to protest his innocence.

Should the prelate ultimately face a Vatican tribunal in relation to abuse allegations, he will be the first high profile Church figure to do so. A previous attempt to host such a trial, for Polish Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, in 2015, arising from accusations of abuse while he served as Apostolic Nuncio to the Dominican Republic, was scuppered when the prelate died suddenly before the hearing got underway.