Vatican convicts ex-Guam archbishop accused of abuse


VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican today removed the suspended Guam archbishop from office and ordered him not to return to the Pacific island after convicting him of some charges in a sex-abuse trial.

The Vatican didn't say what exactly Archbishop Anthony Apuron had been convicted of, and the sentence was far lighter than those given high-profile elderly prelates found guilty of molesting minors. It amounts to an early retirement anywhere in the world but Guam, a remote U.S. Pacific territory.

Apuron is 72, while the Vatican retirement age is 75.

The Vatican spokesman declined to comment. Calls placed to the tribunal judge weren't answered. Apuron's whereabouts weren't immediately known.

Pope Francis named a temporary administrator for Guam in 2016 after Apuron was accused by former altar boys of sexually abusing them when he was a priest. Dozens of cases involving other priests on the island have since come to light, and the archdiocese is facing more than $115 million in civil lawsuits alleging child sexual abuse by priests.

Apuron strongly denied the charges and said he was a victim of a "calumny" campaign. He wasn't criminally charged. The statute of limitations had expired.

A statement from the tribunal in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles sex-abuse cases, said Apuron had been convicted of some of the accusations against him. It said he had been ordered removed from office and could no longer live in the archdiocese of Guam.

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