4th sex abuse accuser of Guam archbishop also an ex-altar boy
SAN FRANCISCO — Another former altar boy came forward June 14 as the fourth alleged sexual abuse victim of Archbishop Anthony S. Apuron.
Roland Paul L. Sondia, now 54, said the church leader molested him when he was a 15-year-old altar boy during a sleepover in the summer of 1977 at the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church rectory in Agat where Apuron was parish priest, according to a Pacific Daily News report.
Sondia said he was hesitant to reveal experience with Apuron until his childhood friends from the same Agat neighborhood came out to publicly accuse the archbishop in recent weeks. Apuron has not been charged with any crime.
“This was a man who I trusted and had a lot of respect for,” Sondia, now a father of two, stated during a press conference outside the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica in Agana.
Sondia’s family, attorney and the families and supporters of the three previous accusers were with him during the press conference. All of them want Apuron removed as head of the Catholic church in Guam.
The Archdiocese of Agana’s response to the latest accusation against Apuron wasn’t retaliatory like its responses to the first accusers who came forward in May.
“The Archdiocese of Agana, taking into serious consideration the allegations presented to the public this morning, will take necessary steps to present the matter to the Holy See, which has final authority in cases related to Bishops,” read a statement from Archbishop Savio Hon Tai Fai, the archbishop that the Vatican sent to temporarily administer the Archdiocese of Agana.
In previous responses, Apuron and the Archdiocese threatened to sue the accusers for spreading “malicious” and “calumnious lies” against the archbishop and the Church.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.