F Rosa Rubicondior: Two More Catholic Clerics - Two More Sex Abuse Scandals

Monday 15 January 2018

Two More Catholic Clerics - Two More Sex Abuse Scandals

Archbishop Anthony Apuron stands in front of the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral Basilica in Hagatna, Guam, Nov. 2014.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Grace Garces Bordallo
Guam archbishop faces new sexual assault allegation | CRUX

The US Pacific territory of Guam, which is almost wholly Catholic, has been rocked by a series of allegations that vehemently homophobic Anthony Apuron, Archbishop of Agana, sexually abuses altar boys in the 1970s. He has vigorously denied all the allegations and has not been criminally charged, but now another accuser has come forward.

The latest accuser, a relative of Archbishop Apuron, has claimed in the local media that he was abused by Apuron in 1990. This latest allegation has been reported to the Vatican. According to Archbishop Michael Byrnes, an earlier Vatican tribunal investigation into the earlier allegations has reportedly concluded and reached a verdict late last year but, for reasons unknown, has not yet made its findings public. Archbishop Byrnes has been given administrative responsibility for the diocese while Apuron is on administrative leave.

Until these findings are publish we will not know whether, if he has been found to have committed criminal acts, the findings will be given to the authorities to support criminal charges or whether he will be 'recalled' to Rome under diplomatic protection as has happened in similar cases.

Luis Fernando Figari
It will be interesting to see whether the response is similar to that of the Vatican to allegations against Peruvian cleric, Luis Fernando Figari. Figari is founder of a religious community of men, the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), and a community of women, the Marian Community of Reconciliation. In 2002, he was appointed to the Pontifical Council for the Laity as a consultor and served as a consultant to the Vatican.

He has been the subject of sexual abuse allegations since 2011. Now a prosecutor has asked a Judge to order his incarceration and the incarceration of other members of SCV during his investigation into these allegation because they are considered 'flight' risks. According to this Spanish report, a Vatican investigation reached the astonishing conclusion last February that, whilst Figari had committed "gravely sinful acts", there was no evidence of criminal activities, despite the finding by independent investigators that:

Figari sexually assaulted at least one child, manipulated, sexually abused, or harmed several other young people; and physically or psychologically abused dozens of others...

Between 1975 and 2000 and once in 2007, five members of Sodalitium, including Figari, sexually abused minors.

However, directly contradicting the Vatican, the Superior General of SCV has reiterated his condemnation of "serious and deplorable acts" by Luis Fernando Figari and said that he will deliver to the Public Prosecutor the findings on sexual abuse of minors that the latter had committed.

The other members of SCV facing investigation are or were German Doig (who died in 2001), Virgilio Levaggi, Jeffrey Daniels and Daniel Murguía. Since last February, Figari has been forbidden by the Vatican’s congregation for religious life from any contact with the religious community, banned from returning to Peru without permission from the current superior of the Sodalitium and forbidden to make any public statements.

SCV has announced that it is setting aside US$2 million to compensate its victims.

Hat tip: The Free Thinker

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