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
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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.”


New Zealand envoy headed to Turkey to ‘confront’ Erdogan’s mosque shooting comments

Updated 4 min 59 sec ago
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New Zealand envoy headed to Turkey to ‘confront’ Erdogan’s mosque shooting comments

  • President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would make the suspected attacker pay if New Zealand did not
  • His comments came at a campaign rally that included video footage of the shootings

SYDNEY: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Wednesday Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Turkey to “confront” comments made by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the killing of at least 50 people at mosques in Christchurch.
Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with murder on Saturday after a lone gunman opened fire at the two mosques during Friday prayers.
Erdogan — who is seeking to drum up support for his Islamist-rooted AK Party in March 31 local elections — said Turkey would make the suspected attacker pay if New Zealand did not.
The comments came at a campaign rally that included video footage of the shootings which the alleged gunman had broadcast on Facebook.
Ardern said Peters would seek urgent clarification.
“Our deputy prime minister will be confronting those comments in Turkey,” Ardern told reporters in Christchurch. “He is going there to set the record straight, face-to-face.”
Peters had earlier condemned the airing of footage of the shooting, which he said could endanger New Zealanders abroad.
Despite Peters’ intervention, an extract from Tarrant’s alleged manifesto was flashed up on a screen at Erdogan’s rally again on Tuesday, along with footage of the gunman entering one of the mosques and shooting as he approached the door.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he summoned Turkey’s ambassador for a meeting, during which he demanded Erdogan’s comments be removed from Turkey’s state broadcaster.
“I will wait to see what the response is from the Turkish government before taking further action, but I can tell you that all options are on the table,” Morrison told reporters in Canberra.
Morrison said Australia’s ambassador to Turkey will on Wednesday meet with the members of Erdogan’s government.
Morrison said Canberra is also reconsidering its travel advice for Australians planning trips to Turkey.
Relations between Turkey, New Zealand and Australia have generally been good. Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders travel each year to Turkey for war memorial services.
Just over a century ago, thousands of soldiers from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) struggled ashore on a narrow beach at Gallipoli during an ill-fated campaign that would claim more than 130,000 lives.
The area has become a site of pilgrimage for visitors who honor their nations’ fallen in graveyards halfway around the world on ANZAC Day every April 25.