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300 sexual abuse lawsuits filed against more than 20 priests in the Western Pacific

Walter Denton, now age 56, is still healing from the trauma he suffered when he was just 12 and 13 years old and claims he was raped by a priest. 

He first came forward with his story 3 years ago with the accusations that Guam’s former Archbishop, Anthony Apuron, assaulted him 

“You know, just standing here, right behind you, that is where I was raped,” says Denton, 56.

Denton says when he was 12, Apuron had asked him to spend the night and when he fell asleep in the church rectory he remembers that he “woke up screaming,” with Apuron on top of him pinning down his hands as he was laying on his stomach.

Denton says afterward, the priest offered to give Denton straight A’s in theology class in order to keep him from saying anything. 

At such a young age, Denton was in shock and was afraid to tell his dad what happened. It took him months to tell a friend, a fellow altar server.

Together they confided in a priest named Jack Niland.

“Well boys,” the priest allegedly replied. “Priesthood is a lonely life.” (Niland is now the subject of multiple sexual abuse lawsuits. He died in 2009.)

In 2015 Denton realized his childhood sex abuse wasn’t an isolated incident and that’s when he decided to come out and tell the public that Apuron had raped him. In that same year he wrote a letter to the Vatican with details about his alleged rape.

Denton’s accusations has empowered hundreds of other victims of sexual abuse cases to come forward alleging multiple decades of sex abuse by clergy on victims living in Guam. These allegations have forced the church to declare bankruptcy.

No criminal charges have been filed against Apuron, however, the Vatican ultimately exiled Apuron from Guam, and took away his title as archbishop. Pope Francis denied the priest’s appeal of that decision.

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