Philip­pines ar­rests US priest ac­cused of abus­ing boys

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus -

PHILIP­PINE im­mi­gra­tion au­thor­i­ties have ar­rested an Amer­i­can Ro­man Catholic priest ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing al­tar boys in a remote cen­tral town in a case one of­fi­cial de­scribed as “shock­ing and ap­palling.”

The Rev. Ken­neth Bernard Hen­dricks, who has been in­dicted in Ohio for il­licit sex­ual con­duct in the Philip­pines, was ar­rested in a church in Naval town in the is­land prov­ince of Bili­ran on Wed­nes­day, Bureau of Im­mi­gra­tion spokes­woman Dana San­doval said Thurs­day.

An Ohio court had is­sued a war­rant for the ar­rest of 77-year-old Hen­dricks, who has been liv­ing in the Philip­pines for 37 years, San­doval said, adding that the US crim­i­nal case stemmed from complaints from the al­leged Filipino vic­tims.

There was no im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion from the US Em­bassy, Philip­pine Catholic Church of­fi­cials or Hen­dricks, who was flown to Manila and detained in an im­mi­gra­tion de­ten­tion cen­tre.

The sus­pect al­legedly abused seven vic­tims, who served mostly as al­tar boys in Naval, in 50 counts of mo­lesta­tion in his res­i­dence in a case that’s “both shock­ing and ap­palling,” San­doval said.

“The vic­tims were in his house and the abuses were com­mit­ted while he was tak­ing a bath with each of them,” San­doval said by tele­phone. US au­thor­i­ties pro­vided in­for­ma­tion about the al­leged sex­ual as­saults to the Philip­pine gov­ern­ment, she said.

The vic­tims were re­port­edly warned they would be locked up in jail if they told any­one about the abuses, she said.

“Sev­eral of his vic­tims have come for­ward with their state­ments,” San­doval said.

The US Em­bassy may re­voke Hen­drick’s pass­port to help Philip­pine au­thor­i­ties im­me­di­ately de­port the priest, the im­mi­gra­tion bureau said in a state­ment.

Hen­dricks is “a fugi­tive from jus­tice that poses a risk to pub­lic safety and se­cu­rity,” San­doval said. “We will not al­low sex­ual predators to prey on our chil­dren. Peo­ple like him must be kicked out and banned from the Philip­pines.” – As­so­ci­ated Press

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