VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has named a successor to Guam’s archbishop, who is accused of sexually molesting altar boys, tapping an American and giving him special authority in the Pacific island archdiocese.
Monsignor Michael Jude Byrnes, currently an auxiliary bishop in Detroit, is moving to the U.S. territory as a coadjutor bishop. Coadjutors have succession rights when bishops resign, retire or are removed.
Archbishop Anthony Apuron, 70, has been accused of molesting at least five altar boys in the 1960s and ’70s. He has denied the allegations, has not been charged and has refused calls to step down.
In response to the allegations, the Vatican appointed a temporary apostolic administrator for Guam.
Byrnes’ nomination Monday suggests a more permanent solution, but there was no word on when the succession would occur.