A 77-year-old American Catholic priest wanted by the US authorities is facing deportation following his arrest by Bureau of Immigration (BI) agents for sexually molesting seven altar boys in Biliran.
Identified as Fr. Kenneth Bernard Hendricks, the priest was arrested Wednesday in the Diocese of Naval town, Biliran by operatives from the Bureau’s Fugitive Search Unit (FSU).
According to Immigration spokesman Dana Krizia Sandoval, Hendricks was arrested after an investigation conducted by the BI and the Philippine National Police.
“We received information from US authorities regarding the alleged sexual exploitation of multiple minor Filipino boys by Hendricks. Several of his victims have come forward with their statements,” Sandova said.
Reports from BI said the priest allegedly sexually assaulted a number of minor boys living in his residence and warned his victims that they would go to prison if they told anyone about the molestation.
According to the BI, the American priest is the subject of an arrest warrant issued by a court in Ohio. Sandoval said the priest will be expelled from the country because he is “a fugitive from justice that poses a risk to public safety and security.”
“His presence is a threat to the safety of our children,” Sandoval stressed.
It was learned that prior to his arrest Hendricks had stayed and practiced his vocation in the Philippines for 37 years.
According to BI FSU Chief Bobby Raquepo, Hendricks was indicted before the Ohio court on charges of “engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.” He said the US court case all stemmed from complaints that were filed against the priest from victims the Philippines.
“There were reports that he conducted at least 50 counts of molestation of young boys,” Raquepo said.
The US embassy is reportedly processing the revocation of Hendrick’s passport to help facilitate his immediate deportation.
Currently, the American priest is detained at the Bicutan Detention Center while his deportation is being processed.