Third alleged sexual abuse victim comes forward against archbish - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Third alleged sexual abuse victim comes forward against archbishop

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It's the latest of allegations made against Archbishop Anthony Apuron. Early Tuesday afternoon, former Agat resident and altar boy Walter G. Denton publicly accused then-priest Anthony Apuron of rape. Denton is the third alleged victim to surface in the last few weeks. Roy Quintanilla and Joseph "Sonny" Quinata were also Agat altar boys.

"I was raped by Anthony Sablan Apuron, who at that time was a priest in Agat," said a teary-eyed Denton before island media on the steps of the Agana Cathedral Basilica. Like other alleged victims, Denton was an altar boy at Mount Carmel Church in Agat. Surrounded by dozens of family and friends, he addressed media on a secret he's been keeping since he was 13 years old.

"Please forgive me for what I'm about to say. It hurts so much," he said, struggling to hold back tears. It hurts so much just thinking about it. It's like it just happened yesterday." It was in April 1977 when then-Father Apuron allegedly asked Denton to sleep over at the rectory. "I told Father Anthony I had to ask my dad. And my dad told me I could," he recalled.   

That night, there were no other boys staying over, just Denton and Apuron. Denton wanted to sleep on the couch. Apuron insisted they sleep together on the bed. Denton recalls waking up pinned down on his stomach, legs spread apart and the Apuron on top of him from behind. "It seemed like forever Father Anthony stayed on top of me. I was crying out to him asking him to please stop. I kept saying that it hurt so much, to please stop. I could hear him moaning and him thrusting himself in me. He finally stopped and he laid down on me like he was resting," said Denton.

"I kept asking why? He said if I said anything to anyone, no one would believe me."

The alleged incident was life changing, and spoiled Denton's dream of becoming a priest. Instead, he joined the US Army and would later come face-to-face with his alleged perpetrator while in Washington State. The confrontation left both men in tears. "I told him he ruined my life and my dreams. I said to him that he raped me. And took something away from me. I told him I would never forgive him for what he did to me. I broke down and cried, and he started to cry as well, but that didn't matter to me. I was so angry," he said.  

That was the last time the two saw one another.

Fast forward to today: Denton is 52 years old and now resides in Arizona with his wife Shirley who shares his pain. She announced, "Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron needs to be removed he cannot come in contact with any more innocent young men. It's a shame. It's a travesty. He robbed the innocence from my husband and nothing can bring that back."   

The Dentons aren't alone. The family of Roy Quintanilla rallied behind them. Charlene Santos Bamba speaks on behalf of Quintanilla and family, saying, "Walter and Roy have suffered way too much and to be dismissive of their pain is disgraceful. To reiterate, this is not an assault on the church or the faith - the defense the archdiocese continues to exploit. This is about sexual abuse."

The archbishop has vehemently denied any allegations of sex abuse and has claimed he is the victim of a malicious smear campaign to remove him because of his efforts to clean up the church.

Denton is represented by Attorney David Lujan, who welcomes any legal action from Apuron or the Archdiocese of Agana. "We welcome them. And frankly, we can't wait for the day they show up. Because they'll find that Walter and Roy and others will be ready waiting for them," promised Lujan.

A written version of Denton's testimony on Tuesday was served to the Pastoral Center Office at the Agana Cathedral. Attorney Lujan meanwhile says he is aware of three more victims. 

Additionally, two years ago former Guam resident John Toves also accused Apuron of sexual harassment. Because the victim never came forward however, the Archdiocese of Agana never investigated.

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