An American priest has been arrested in Naval, Biliran, accused of raping more than 50 altar boys, some as young as seven.
Members of the local police and US Homeland Security agents arrested Father Kenneth Bernard Pius Hendricks inside the Cathedral of Our Lady Rosary today (Wednesday, December 5).
Senior Superintendent Julius Coyme said that the 78-year-old had sexually abused “several” boys. Many of them served as his sacristans, or altar assistants.
“He was inside the church when arrested by the personnel of the US Homeland Security and local police. He did not resist the arrest,” Sr. Supt. Coyme said.
Hendricks was arrested by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Stephanie Bowman, US magistrate judge of the US District Court for the District of Ohio on November 11. He is facing charges of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places for violation of 18 U.S.C. & 2423 under United States Law with Case No. 1:18MJ-719.
The priest, who has lived in Naval for about 50 years, is now facing charges for indecent sexual conduct involving minors.
Sr. Supt. Coyme said that based on their local records, the priest was already facing seven complaints of sexual abuse. “But of the seven complainants filed, only two proceeded with their complaints,” he added.
One of them claims he was sexually abused by the American priest when he was just 12 years old.
However, Sr. Supt. Coyme said that information he gathered from the US personnel suggested there were many other victims of the priest, some of them boys as young as seven.
“They came to us last week and informed us that they are still gathering information as there could be more victims,” the police official said.
The Franciscan priest has now been transferred to detention in Manila following a medical check up at the Biliran Provincial Hospital.