On Friday, October 24, 2014, Deacon Steve Martinez was removed by Archbishop Apuron as the Sexual Abuse Response Coordinator (SARC) for the Archdiocese of Agana and replaced by Deacon Larry Claros. Deacon Martinez had some unfinished business that we hope Deacon Claros will now complete, and promptly.
In July of 2014, Deacon Martinez had reminded Archbishop Apuron that the Archdiocesan Policy on Sexual Misconduct requires the Archbishop to "promptly" notify the Sexual Abuse Response Coordinator of any allegation of sexual misconduct. (Sec. IV.A.2.b.)
Deacon Martinez advised Archbishop Apuron that in the case of Fr. John Wadeson, it had recently been reported in the news that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles had contacted "Guam church officials about the sexual abuse accusations against Father John Wadeson in 2011", and that as the Sexual Abuse Response Coordinator he was to be contacted "promptly". However, three years later, he had yet to be "contacted" by Archbishop Apuron.
The following month, Deacon Martinez again advised Archbishop Apuron that he STILL had not been contacted as per the allegations against Fr. Wadeson as required by the Archdiocesan policy. He also raised the issue of background checks as required by Section III.C. of the Abuse Policy:
...the selection of candidates for the Archdiocese, as well as of employees and volunteers, will include background checks and other standard means of assessing one’s potential for sexual misconduct.
Deacon Martinez then questioned whether or not such an investigation had ever been conducted on Fr. Wadeson who had been welcomed into this Archdiocese as an incardinated priest by Archbishop Apuron around 2004, two years after the policy had been put in place.
(However, then Deacon Steve then makes a fatal "mistake". He goes on to question whether the Archbishop is conducting the required background checks on the many seminarians who are being imported into Guam. We'll have to come back to this.)
Finally, after nearly another month, Archbishop Apuron responds to Deacon Martinez by saying that in the case of Fr. Wadeson, "the Review Board cannot and should not investigate complaints based on hearsay or information published in social media as a response to third party complaints."
Ummmm, Archbishop, the allegations against Fr. Wadeson did NOT appear in "social media", they appeared in a 2004 report by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles entitled: Report to the People of God: Clergy Sexual Abuse, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, 1930-2003. In the report Fr. Wadeson is "accused of molesting two youths" between 1973 and 1977.
Fr. Wadeson was not your problem in 1977, but he became your problem in 2004, the year the report appeared and the year you incardinated him into this diocese. When we learned of these accusations ten years later, rather than engage the accusations and prove them false, you hid Fr. Wadeson. And now that Deacon Martinez has turned up the heat, you fire him.
So, Deacon Larry, it is your turn.