Philippine immigration authorities say they’ve arrested an American Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting altar boys in a distant central city in a case one official described as “surprising and appalling.”

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

An Ohio courtroom had issued a warrant for the arrest of 77-year-old Hendricks, who has been dwelling within the Philippines for 37 years, Sandoval mentioned, including that the U.S. prison case stemmed from complaints from Filipino minors who had been allegedly victimized within the Philippines.

There was no instant response from the U.S. Embassy, Philippine Catholic church officers or Hendricks, who was flown to Manila and detained in an immigration cell.

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The suspect allegedly abused seven victims, who served principally as altar boys in Naval, in 50 counts of molestation in his residence in a case that is “each surprising and appalling,” Sandoval mentioned.

“The victims had been in his home and the abuses had been dedicated whereas he was taking a shower with every of them,” Sandoval mentioned by phone. U.S. authorities offered details about the alleged sexual assaults to the Philippine authorities, she mentioned.

The victims had been reportedly warned they might be locked up in jail in the event that they informed anybody in regards to the abuses, she mentioned.

“A number of of his victims have come ahead with their statements,” Sandoval mentioned.

The U.S. Embassy could revoke Hendrick’s passport to assist Philippine authorities instantly deport the priest, the immigration bureau mentioned in a press release.

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Hendricks is “a fugitive from justice that poses a danger to public security and safety,” Sandoval mentioned. “We won’t permit sexual predators to prey on our youngsters. Folks like him have to be kicked out and banned from the Philippines.”

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly lashed out on the dominant Catholic church and its clergymen over such abuses, saying he himself together with different college students had been sexually molested by an American priest of their highschool days.

In separate speeches Wednesday, the risky chief claimed nearly 90 p.c of Catholic clergymen had been gay and likewise admonished Catholics to “kill your bishops, they’re ineffective fools. All they do is criticize.”

“I am telling you, essentially the most hypocritical establishment in the complete Philippines is the Catholic church and the pope is aware of that,” Duterte mentioned.

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A Catholic priest and Duterte critic, Amado Picardal, mentioned the president’s remarks on the church could also be geared toward diverting public consideration from his extensively criticized lethal battle on medication, the federal government’s failure to cease the smuggling of unlawful medication into the nation, persevering with poverty, corruption and different points.

He mentioned Duterte may additionally really feel threatened by the Catholic church, which performed a job within the ouster of two Philippine presidents, together with the 1986 overthrow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“Many individuals consider that his controversial statements are merely a manner of diverting the individuals’s consideration from the true points raised in opposition to him,” Picardal mentioned.


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