Deacon Steve Martinez says he warned Archbishop Anthony Apuron that their sex abuse policy was flawed two years ago.
Guam – With the lack of action taken by the Archdiocese of Agana following allegations of sexual abuse, the former sex abuse response coordinator Deacon Steve Martinez is speaking out about the church’s flawed policy, especially since Archbishop Anthony Apuron is now “an accused serial sexual predator.”
“He’s protected himself but forgot about the children he was assigned to shepherd. His effort of self preservation has blinded his command to protect,” says Deacon Martinez.
There are now two public allegations against Archbishop Anthony Apuron of sexual abuse. The first was Roy Quintanilla, who says Apuron molested him 40 years earlier at the Mt. Carmel Catholic Church in Agat and the second coming from Doris Concepcion who says her son revealed on his deathbed that Apuron molested him decades earlier, also at the Mt. Carmel Church.
“The policies are designed to protect the victims to come forward without fear of retribution. Instead of protecting the innocent, he has attacked them. He has called them liars. He has called them malicious in their acts. Not only has the archbishop done so individually but he’s done it on behalf of the church and he’s had his staff do the same as well.
Deacon Steve Martinez, as the former sex abuse response coordinator, says he tried to address the Archdiocese’s flawed policy about two years ago, when the issue of Father John Wadeson came up in which the Archbishop was accused of protecting Father Wadeson despite knowing that he had previously been accused of sexual abuse.
Deacon Martinez wrote the archbishop twice, pointing out that Apuron had violated their policy because he failed to notify the SARC about Father Wadeson’s past.
Deacon Martinez didn’t receive a response until three months later. He says the response was not to address his concerns, but to notify him that he had been fired and a new SARC, Deacon Larry Claros, would be taking his place.
“None of the issues were addressed. None of the policies were modified or strengthened. No action was taken other than to start off with a fresh new sex abuse response coordinator,” Deacon Martinez pointed out.
And now, two years later, Deacon Martinez says the church is facing the kind of problems he predicted would happen if the policies weren’t changed.
“The archbishop is an accused serial sexual predator,” says Deacon Martinez. “Because of that, he has selfishly used the policy to ignore the fact that he’s in charge and the conflict of interest.”
He adds: “But has anybody ever heard the church say, ‘We are taking these allegations seriously. We are concerned for the welfare of the victims and we are reaching out to give them care and comfort. I haven’t heard that.”
PNC: “Were there ever any mentions of a potential flawed policy before ? Because it would seem from 2002 to 2014, 12 years had passed, that maybe someone might have been concerned that at some point the archbishop might be accused and face this kind of challenge?”
“There was put out by the Vatican a motu propio back in 2010 to 2011, which suggested to diocese modifications to make. Our archdiocese made none of those modifications,” says Deacon Martinez.
Deacon Martinez encourages parishioners to write to the archbishop and other church leaders, such as the papal nuncio regarding their discontent with the archdiocese or the archbishop.
You can reach Archbishop Martin Krebs, the apostolic nuncio to Guam and Oceania at firstname.lastname@example.org. His postal address is Apostolic Delegate PO Box 22-004 Wellington 6441.