Acting on a tip from U.S. authorities, Bureau of Immigration (BI) agents arrested a 77-year-old American priest last Wednesday, December 5, 2018. Furthermore, the victims served mostly as altar boys in the remote town of Naval, Biliran Island, in Eastern Visayas. They were the subject of at least 50 counts of molestation in his residence. It’s a case that’s “both shocking and appalling,” said BI Spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval.
Priest Bathed with Altar Boys
“The victims were in his house and the abuses were committed while he was taking a bath with each of them,” said Sandoval.
The priest allegedly warned his victims that they would go to prison if they told anyone about the molestation.
Warning from U.S. Authorities
U.S. authorities provided information about the alleged sexual assaults to the Philippine government.
The Department of Homeland Security said a total of 10 victims have come forward, all from the Philippines where Hendricks served as a missionary for over 37 years.
HSI official Steve Francis said five victims officially filed reports of sexual abuse on Nov. 30, and since then, five more victims have come forward.
The charges span at least a decade, with the first case reported in 2009, officials said.
U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman said that more and more victims are coming forward. He wants to gather as much information on Hendricks as possible to make sure all victims are being vindicated.
Glassman said that while Hendricks lived in the Philippines for over 37 years, he would annually take trips back to the United States and stay for months.
Priest Ordained in the Philippines?
However, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati released a statement, saying Hendricks is not, nor has ever been a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
In a statement, the Cincinnati diocese claims “to the best of our knowledge, Hendricks was ordained to the priesthood in the Philippines to serve in a diocese there. He has never had any assignment with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.”
Immigration Spokesperson Sandoval Condemns Hendricks’ Actions
“We will not allow sexual predators to prey on our children,” said Sandoval. “People like him must be kicked out and banned from the Philippines,” she added.
The US embassy is reportedly processing the revocation of Hendrick’s passport to help facilitate his immediate deportation.
The priest is currently being held in an Immigration jail cell in Manila.
Sources: Philippine Bureau of Immigration, NBC4i.com, Fox News, and The Associated Press