"Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops, like bishops, and your religious act like religious." - Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, 1972
Father Luis Camacho was arrested last year and charged with custodial interference. He resigned as priest of two Southern churches as a result.
Guam - Another member of the Catholic Church is calling for the resignation of Archbishop Anthony Apuron, but not over recent concerns over the Redemptoris Mater Seminary. Teri Untalan says a priest who was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor last year is now once again in active ministry involving youth.
Teri Untalan is a member of the Santa Barbara Catholic parish but is not part of any formal group. She wrote to Archbishop Anthony Apuron yesterday calling for his resignation.
"I wrote this letter on my behalf and on behalf of all anonymous Catholics I suppose, friends of mine, people that I know that have come up to me and asked what can we do, what can be done," explains Untalan.
Untalan says she and many others recently became aware of the whereabouts of Father Luis Camacho. Father Camacho resigned as pastor of the two churches he was overseeing last year March here on Guam after he was arrested and charged with custodial interference for picking up a 17-year-old student without permission from school and taking her to a secluded beach.
Allegations then surfaced that Father Camacho had engaged in oral sex with the minor. At the time, Archbishop Apuron announced that a canonical investigation would be launched. The results of the investigation, however, were never released.
"The fact that rather than an investigation being conducted about his behavior, he was shipped off island and only to find out that not only was he shipped off island, but he’s again working with youth," argues Untalan.
Father Luis Camacho appears now to be serving at the Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Qatar. He’s even scheduled to host a youth retreat at the end of this month, according to the church’s website.
"That’s what we were told that he would be taken off active ministry until they had investigated this issue. Well conducting a youth retreat, ministering to youth is definitely active ministry and it just screams wrong," Untalan points out.
Although Father Luis Camacho was never convicted of any crime, Untalan points out that he has a record of arrest involving a minor and that at the time, Father Camacho was in a position of trust.
"That’s where I’m concerned, not only with the danger of youth but the danger to our financial situation a diocese," says Untalan. "I’m just concerned that other youth are being put in harms way; that should somebody be harmed by him and a lawsuit brought upon against him because he’s a priest that belongs to the catholic church, they’re gonna go back to where ever he originated from and if it was known that he had a history here, it could come back to us. They could say, 'Alright our archbishop negligently sent him off somewhere else."
We reached out to the Archdiocese of Agana for comment but did not get a response as of news time. We also reached out to Bishop Camillo Ballin, the apostolic vicar of Northern Arabia and he not received a response as of news time.
It was a story that shocked the community. A priest that was arrested and resigned after allegations of engaging in inappropriate conduct with a female minor. It turns out this same priest may soon be leading a youth conference halfway across the globe.
Father Luis Camacho is the former pastor of the San Dimas and San Dionisio parishes. He was arrested last march for custodial interference, after allegations he took a 17-year-old from her school without parental permission, drove her to a remote beach in Agat, and engaged in sexual contact with her. He was arrested by police on March 17, 2015.
KUAM News files show that after his arrest Deacon Stephen Martinez filed a report with Archbishop Anthony Apuron and Child Protective Services for violation of the archdiocese's policy on sexual misconduct. Apuron later accepted Camacho's resignation, his faculties were restricted, and a canonical investigation was launched.
But fast forward to today, and it seems his close connection with the Catholic church and the youth aren't far behind.
Terry Untalan is a parishioner of Santa Barbara Church in Dededo and recently learned that Fr. Luis will be participating in youth conference in Qatar in the Middle East. According to the Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, the priest will soon be one of two main speakers at a youth retreat titled "Limitless", which caters to children ages 13 and older.
"And I just thought that is so wrong," she said. "This reminded me too much of the sexual abuse situation in the United States and in Ireland and other places, throughout the world where predator priests were shuffled around between dioceses."
We should note that despite the arrest and report to both Child Protective Services and the church, AG spokesperson Carlina Charfauros told KUAM News that she is not legally able to provide a comment on the case. When asked why, she referred KUAM to Guam's expungement law which allows for expungement where there has been an acquittal, a decision not to prosecute, where the statute of limitations has passed or a pardon was issued.
Meanwhile, it's also unclear what became of the church's investigation. KUAM reached out to archdiocese chancellor Father Adrian Cristobal for answers, he responded that he would get back to us as soon as he can gather the information and appreciates our patience. he had yet to respond as of newstime.
As for Untalan, she is so concerned about the situation that she wrote to Archbishop Apuron, asking for his resignation.
The limitless youth conference is set to take place in Qatar from April 28 to 30.