Saturday, March 4, 2023


By Tim Rohr


Note: Apocalypse (from Ancient Greek ἀποκάλυψις (apokálupsis) 'revelation, disclosure'), and has come to be synonymous with "an event involving destruction or damage on an awesome or catastrophic scale."

Before going on with what I'm going to call "The Hon Dynasty," we need to review the backstory of how the issues in the Archdiocese of Agana jumped from Apuron's local squabble with a couple of priests, that probably would have died out in a couple of months, to a clergy sex abuse crisis of catastrophic proportions - a crisis which brought Hon to Guam, and a crisis that, per capita, became 14 times the size of the crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston which led to the Academy Award winning movie "Spotlight."


Even after Apuron attacked Msgr. James Benavente and kicked him out of the Cathedral - where he was both rector and functionally the pastor - the whole fiasco might have remained just a local church squabble. 

The problem was that the squabble had grown louder after Apuron further attacked Benavente publicly and in print. This caused the laity to mobilize both in support of Benavente but also in reaction to Apuron's incomprehensible actions, first against Gofigan and now Benavente.

There was a large public demonstration in support of Benavente on the steps of the Cathedral, a motorcade, and an increased interest by the local media. 

Benavente was well-connected and well-liked, and he had the immediate support of many, but nothing any of Benavente's close associates did or said appeared to give Apuron pause. In fact, Apuron (or really his people) ramped up their attacks in response to the defense of Benavente.

However, these ramped up attacks created the ever increasing din that eventually was heard across the Pacific and began to raise ghosts from both Benavente and Apuron's past, one of whom was John Toves. 

Toves first approached me anonymously through a comment on this blog. In the comment he accused Apuron of sexually molesting his relative. I posted back that if the "commenter" wanted the comment to be public, he (I didn't know yet if the commenter was a he or she yet), would have to put his name to the comment.

John commented back that his name was John Charles Ada Toves and that Apuron had molested his relative. 

There was nothing I could do with the comment other than to leave it on the blog. John had put his name to his accusation and there it was. But I didn't need to do anything as the comments in response to John's accusation began exploding. And then, a few weeks later, in November of 2014, John called into Jesse Lujan's KUAM show and made the same accusation. This was the first time anyone had publicly accused Apuron of sex abuse - though it had been rumored for years.

The next month, John, who lived in California, came to Guam and attempted to confront Apuron on multiple occasions. Toves, in a confrontation with then-Fr. Adrian Cristobal that was memorialized in a KUAM news story, was unceremoniously thrown off "The Hill" and threatened with police action should he try again.

John Toves unable to meet with archbishop - KUAM

And it was here that Apuron made his first of many big mistakes. Certainly how he handled the Gofigan and Benavente matters was already a big mistake, but those matters would not have led to Apuron's ouster nor to the bankruptcy of the archdiocese. However, allegations of sexual abuse were a different matter. 

Toves hadn't lived in Guam since his youth and few people knew him. He had no credibility. All Apuron had to do was meet with him, say that he met with him, and say I'm sorry but Mr. Toves seems to be misinformed. Something like that. Toves then would have nowhere to go and he probably would have been refused any more airtime, especially since Toves' "relative" refused to substantiate Toves' allegation against Apuron. 

Instead, Apuron sent out Cristobal to bar Apuron's door. Sending Cristobal out to meet John was also a big mistake. John and Cristobal had been in the seminary together and each knew each other's dirty laundry. Cristobal knew how dangerous John was, not just to Apuron, but to himself. And it showed.


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