- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

HAGATNA, Guam (AP) - An archbishop in Guam is defending himself against claims that he sexually abused an altar boy 40 years ago.

Archbishop Anthony Apuron released a video Tuesday, in which he denied the allegations brought by Roy Taitague Quintanilla, of Hawaii. Quintanilla has accused Apuron of sexually abusing him when he was an altar boy and the archbishop was a priest at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Agat, The Pacific Daily News reported (https://bit.ly/24WQuhA).

“To be absolutely clear and to avoid any misinterpretations of my statement, I deny all allegations of sexual abuse by Roy Quintanilla,” Apuron said in the video.

The archbishop also referred to “malicious ads” recently featured in local newspapers, including the Pacific Daily News. In a previous news release, the archdiocese said the advertisements insinuated sexual abuse by Apuron.

“As predicted just four days ago, these malicious ads have resulted in a false accusation of sexual abuse,” Apuron said in the video.

The Concerned Catholics of Guam, a group that has been critical of the archbishop, paid for the advertisements, which called on victims of sexual abuse to come forward.

Apuron has been accused of molestation in the past, but has never been charged with a crime.

The archdiocese issued a statement Tuesday, saying Deacon Larry Claros, the archdiocese’s sexual abuse response coordinator, has been informed and is coordinating a response. The “proper steps have been initiated” following the recent allegations, the statement says.

Quintanilla, 52, spoke at a press conference Tuesday about the alleged sexual abuse by Apuron when he was 12 years old. He said Apuron touched him inappropriately after persuading him to spend the night at his house.

“I cried then, and I’ve never stopped crying,” he said.

Last week, the archdiocese said it intended to file lawsuits against those spreading “malicious lies” about the local church.

In 2014, John Toves, of California, accused Apuron of molesting his cousin, but Toves’ cousin never came forward to confirm the allegations.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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