Walter Denton: case under investigation by Vatican since 2015 - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Walter Denton: case under investigation by Vatican since 2015

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During an interview Thursday morning on Isla63-AM, Walter Denton revealed that the Vatican has been investigating his allegations of rape since August 2015.  On Tuesday, Denton appeared before island media and alleged that he was raped by Archbishop Anthony Apuron when he was 13 years old. He alleged that the sexual abuse happened when Apuron was a priest in Agat and Denton was an altar boy. 

Denton in his interview with radio host Jess Lujan said he was on Guam in January 2015 when he had heard about his cousin who had allegedly been sexually abused by Apuron several years ago. Denton said his cousin was a seminarian at the time. Denton said he realized he needed to come forward and sought advice on how he should go about filing a complaint about what happened to him.

He realized that he could not report it to the local archdiocese because the Archbishop was the accused and controlled all investigations of sexual abuse. He says he was referred to Archbishop Martin Krebs, the Apostolic Delegate to the Pacific Islands. Although Archbishop Krebs was on Guam in January 2015, Denton said he was not aware of the visit.  Denton says it wasn’t until August 2015 that he sent a notarized letter to Archbishop Krebs detailing what happened to him.

He said Archbishop Krebs then took his statement directly to the Vatican. From there he said it was around October or November of that same year he was contacted by Bishop Olmsted in Phoenix, Arizona for an interview. Denton said Bishop Olmsted told him that he had been appointed by the Vatican to gather information about the alleged abuse. Although he has not heard from the Vatican since, he did say Bishop Olmsted assured him that the Vatican is conducting an investigation.

Denton is the third person in as many weeks to publicly come forward accusing the Archbishop of sexual abuse while he was a priest in Agat. The Archbishop has denied the allegations and asked for the Catholic faithful to pray for him and the church.  “This is not about attacking the church it’s about an individual… it’s about molesting innocent children working for Fr. Anthony Apuron...the church is a sanctuary, where you go to find peace. You don’t use the church to hide your misdeeds. He’s hiding behind the cloth. You need to come out and face your demons and say that you’re sorry for what you did to us, what you did to me and what you did to Roy and Mrs. Concepcion’s beautiful son who is no longer with us,” Denton said during the interview.

On Monday, the Vatican announced that Archbishop Savio Tai Fai Hon was appointed as an Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese of Agana. In a media release Wednesday night from Archbishop Hon he asked for the trust and prayers of the local church and sincerely hopes that the entire Catholic Community will pull all of its energy in promoting unity, harmony, and stability of the Church”. He is being assisted by Rev. Fr. Tadeuz Jan Nowak, OMI.

Archbishop Hon and Rev. Fr. Nowak were on Guam in January 2015 for what the Archdiocese at the time described as a pastoral visit to foster reconciliation and understanding within the Archdiocese. Their visit followed multiple controversies which divided the local Church in 2014 which included the removal of Father Paul Gofigan from the Santa Barbara Church, the sudden removal of Monsignor James Benavente as rector because of alleged financial discrepancies, and allegations of sexual harassment against Archbishop Anthony Apuron.  While the Archdiocese at the time said it was a pastoral visit, critics claimed the visit was to conduct an investigation.

During the radio interview Denton gave a direct message to Archbishop Hon asking that he re-evaluate the sex abuse policy that is in place and to listen to the people of Guam and what they have to say. He also encourages others who may be victims to come forward. Denton meanwhile said he is still Catholic, “I have never lost my faith, I still believe in the Lord Jesus Christ”.

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