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Apuron could have ammo to fire back

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It appears Archbishop Anthony Apuron could have ammo to fire back should he not be satisfied with the results of his canonical trial in Rome. This according to one expert who chimes in after sexual harassment allegations were made against one of the priest investigating Apuron's case.

A decision is expected any day now. This according to Guam's Coadjutor Archbishop Michael Byrnes who previously reported Archbishop Anthony Apuron's fate now rests with three unnamed judges. He told KUAM News, "The discovery period of the trial has ended, and the next phase that will happen in the next several weeks, will be a convening of the three judges to deliberate on what they heard."

"There's three possibilities: not guilty. Guilty. Or not proven."

While we wait for a judgment from Rome, it's recently been revealed that one of Apuron's investigators stands accused of sexual harassment.

Father Justin Wachs, according to South Dakota news reports, allegedly touched a woman inappropriately and sent her suggestive text messages. The woman, who remained anonymous, worked at his former parish. Patrick J. Wall, an advocate, former priest, and canonist tells KUAM this development could be used to Apuron's advantage.

Wall said, "So that will be very interesting to see if Archbishop Apuron's attorneys - canonical attorneys - challenge the canonical process now."

Father Wachs was on Guam earlier this year along with other members of the Tribunal tasked with investigating Apuron and collecting testimony. Wall says Father Wachs plays a critical role as the notary and should have a reputation that is both unimpaired and above all suspicion.

"The code is very clear. This is a sacred position that he has. It's a position of trust," said Wall. "As the notary, he's the one that handles all the documents. He's the one who interacts with all of the witnesses. He interacts with all of the judges. He's the official recorder of it. And when the judges make a decision, just as Father Wachs has been in communication all along here with Archbishop Apuron and his canonists, Father Wachs will be the one the communicate the decision of the canonical court to the archbishop, so he has a very central role in this - his integrity has to be above all suspicion."

Canonical trials are done in secret, which is why there is limited information on Apuron's status. Here at home, a hearing is set in the District Court of Guam on August 29. There, parties will argue Apuron's motion to dismiss the four lawsuits against him.

Similar to previous hearings, Apuron isn't required to be present.

He is represented by attorney Jacque Terlaje who maintains her client's innocence.

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