Roy Taitague Quintanilla, who publicly accused Archbishop Anthony Apuron of molesting him 40 years ago when he was a 12-year-old altar boy at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Agat where Apuron was then the parish priest, launched a rebuttal to Apuron’s denial late yesterday.
On Tuesday afternoon, Quintanilla held a press conference in front of the Archdiocese of Agana chancery in Agana Heights to confront Apuron over the alleged sexual abuse.
Quintanilla, a 52-year-old former Guam resident who now lives in Hawaii, gathered with family members and friends and read a letter detailing the incident beginning with a trip to the movies with the altar boys of the parish and then each of them being dropped off at their home. “I was the last of the altar boys in the van. I thought you were going to take me home like the others, but instead, you asked if I could sleep at your house,” he said, reading the letter.
He alleged that he was told to sleep in the same room as Apuron and that Apuron grabbed his private parts.
After reading the letter, Quintanilla delivered it to the chancery office.
On Tuesday evening, Apuron released a video message in which he stated: “There has been a series of attacks against the church and myself in the last three years. As predicted just four days ago, these malicious ads have now resulted in a false accusation of sexual abuse.” Apuron was referring to full-page newspaper ads calling for victims of sexual abuse by clergy to come forward, and detailed parishes and dates.
Apuron’s message continued, “To be absolutely clear and to avoid misinterpretations of my statement, I deny any allegations of sexual abuse by Roy Quintanilla.”
At the end of the message, Apuron asked for prayers for him and “those who are behind the concerted effort to injure our Catholic church,” he said. “I will continue to defend the faith.”
Yesterday Quintanilla told the Post he was extremely offended by Apuron’s video message.
“I know what he did, he knows what he did, to not only me but to other altar boys that I am aware of that were also victims of Apuron,” Quintanilla said. “The reason it is offensive is one, he had the nerve to lie about it and then make us feel like we are trying to accuse the church of something when that is not what this is about.”
Quintanilla emphasized, “This is about me confronting Archbishop Anthony Sablan Apuron for what he did to me 40 years ago. It is extremely offensive not only to me, but to the people of Guam that he would lie about doing something so criminal.”
He said he is going to leave it up to other victims to decide if or when they are going to come forward.
Quintanilla said he was offended that the archbishop “basically called me a liar.”
“It is offensive to not only myself and the other victims but to everybody. This is not me accusing the Catholic faith or the church. Apuron is not the church. I am offended that he would hide behind the cloth and behind the church and say that I am slandering the church when that is not what I am doing,” Quintanilla said. “I am confronting the person, Anthony Sablan Apuron, for what he did to me. The fact that he is the leader of the Catholic faith on this island and he is unable to abide by the most basic of commandments which is ‘Thou shall not lie’ – we deserve better. The victims deserve better. I deserve better and the people of this island deserve better.”
Up until recently, Quintanilla thought he was Apuron’s only victim. “Up until a month and a half ago, I discovered by chance that my friends who served with me as altar boys during that period were also victims of Apuron’s. They shared with me what Apuron did to them. If people knew what he did there would be no doubt in anyone’s mind that what he did was nothing less than criminal.”
Quintanilla said he didn’t want to come forward at first because he was afraid that people weren’t going to believe him or would criticize him for making claims against an archbishop. “But when I heard what my friends told me, I was going to take that risk,” he said. “I am going to confront him. Because what I am saying is the truth. How dare he molest me and then offend me 40 years later and lie that he did this to me. I have no reason to lie. I am an honest, decent person. Ask anybody.”
Quintanilla said he hasn’t decided if he would file a complaint against the archbishop in court if the statute of limitations was eliminated. “The reason I had an attorney with me when I held the press conference is because just a week prior the archbishop threatened legal action against anyone who would come forward and dare slander his name or the church’s name,” he said.
Quintanilla said he welcomes legal action. “I want him to do that, because I want my day in court. I want to face that man because I have nothing to hide,” he said.
“I welcome any court he wants to take me to. I am ready to defend my honor and my integrity – any time,” Quintanilla said.
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