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US priest arrested in Philippines for sex abuse

MANILA (UCAN): An American priest, Father Kenneth Bernard Hendricks, was arrested on December 5 by Philippine police and immigration officials and United States (US) Homeland Security agents for allegedly sexually abusing dozens of boys over the last four decades.
 
The 78-year-old priest was detained inside the Catholic church in Naval, a town in Biliran province, in the Eastern Visayas region of the central Philippines.
 
The District Court of Ohio issued a warrant for , Father Hendricks arrest on November 11 on charges of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country, a crime in the US.
 
Biliran police director, Julius Coyme, said Father Hendricks “did not resist arrest.” He said at least seven complaints against the priest had been filed with the police who later revealed that there may have been as many as 50 victims, most of whom were children as young as 12-years-old who served as sacristans and altar servers.
 
An earlier report said two children had filed cases against the priest on November 9 for alleged sexual assault.
 
Immigration spokesperson, Dana Sandoval, said it was alleged that the Father Hendricks would insist on taking baths together with the boys and molest his victims while they were alone or with others.
 
Residents of Naval expressed shock on learning of the allegations against the priest. 
 
Local historian, Rolando Borrinaga, a close friend of the priest, said he only learned about the case and the arrest from news reports.
 
“The news was the other extreme of what I knew about the man since my childhood,” said Borrinaga, who was an altar server for Father Hendricks. He added that he was “deeply shocked” by his arrest.
 
The historian said Father Hendricks, whom he last saw in 2014, used to be a Franciscan brother before becoming a priest.
 
In a 2014 blog Borrinaga wrote about a museum that was set up by the priest in Naval Diocese.
 
The Catholic News Agency reported that the priest is a former Franciscan and a member of the Order of Friars Minor’s Province of St. John the Baptist in Cincinnati.
 
On December 6, Father Hendricks was undergoing deportation proceedings in Manila.

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