Philippines arrests US priest accused of abusing altar boys

The priest was arrested in a church in Naval town in the island province of Biliran. (File/AFP)
Updated 06 December 2018
0

Philippines arrests US priest accused of abusing altar boys

  • Rev. Kenneth Bernard Hendricks has been indicted in Ohio for illicit sexual conduct in the Philippines
  • 77-year-old Hendricks has been living in the country for 37 years

MANILA, Philippines: 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 center.
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.”


Australia police make arrest in Israeli student murder case

Updated 7 min 32 sec ago
0

Australia police make arrest in Israeli student murder case

SYDNEY: Australia police on Friday arrested a man in relation to the murder of Israeli student Aiia Maasarwe, some two days after her body was found in Melbourne.
The 21-year-old was killed on the way home from a comedy show in Melbourne just after midnight on Wednesday, with her body found in bushes near a tram stop by passers-by several hours later.
A 20-year-old man from the outer suburbs of Melbourne was arrested at 11.20am Friday, police said.
“Homicide Squad detectives have arrested a man as part of the ongoing investigation into the death of Aiia Maasarwe,” Victoria Police said in a statement.
“Police would like to thank the public for their assistance with the investigation.”
Police on Thursday said Maasarwe was killed in a late-night attack while she was speaking on the phone with her sister.
They described the murder as a “horrendous, horrific attack.”
Campaigners on Friday called for an end to the “epidemic of violence against women” ahead of a vigil in memory Maasarwe.
Several memorials are to be held on Friday, including one where mourners dressed in black will hold a silent vigil on the steps of the Victorian state parliament.
Another memorial plans to fill the 86 tram, which Maasarwe was believed to have ridden on her way home, with red roses that were reportedly her favorite flowers.
Some of the organizers were the same ones who organized a vigil for Eurydice Dixon, a 22-year-old local comedian who was killed in a Melbourne park last year as she was going home.
“We’re as angry as we were last time,” organizer Jessamy Gleeson told Melbourne’s Herald Sun on Friday, adding more needed to be done to keep women safe.
“We shouldn’t have these one-off vigils. There needs to be continued engagement and conversation about violence against women.”
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison took to Twitter on Friday, calling the crime “an incredibly shocking, despicable and tragic attack.”
“My heart goes out to Aiia’s family and friends and everyone whose life she touched.”