The Vatican has removed Archbishop Anthony Apuron of Guam from office and barred him from living in the Pacific territory, saying a church tribunal had found the cleric guilty of “certain of the accusations” made against him.
A Vatican news release on Friday did not specify exactly what Apuron had been found guilty of, and the five-judge tribunal headed by Cardinal Raymond Burke did not provide details of the charges against the archbishop.
Apuron, 72, had been in charge of the Archdiocese of Agana since 1986, and was placed on leave by Pope Francis in 2016 after allegations dating from the 1960s surfaced against him.
In January of this year, the archbishop’s nephew, Mark Apuron, accused his uncle of raping him when he was 16 years old, according to the Guam Daily Post.
Archbishop Apuron has denied the accusations and did not publicly comment on the verdict from the Vatican tribunal. Under Vatican law, he has the right to appeal the verdict.
In the event of an appeal, the Vatican statement says the penalty will be suspended until a final resolution is reached.
Normally, the maximum penalty for sexual abuse of a minor is laicization, or removal from the priesthood.