American priest awaiting deportation arrested for abusing Filipino altar boys

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Catholic priest
Father Kenneth Hendricks photographed at the Bureau of Immigration’s detention centre in Bicutan.

An American priest, who was awaiting deportation for crimes committed in the USA, has been arrested for abusing more than 50 Filipino children.

Father Kenneth Hendricks, accused of molesting numerous altar boys in Biliran province, was taken from the Bureau of Immigration’s Bicutan detention centre by police today (Tuesday, February 19).

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The warrants of arrest were served by Metro Manila’s police chief Guillermo Eleazar inside his detention cell at 11am.

Hendricks, aged 77, was originally arrested last December by virtue of an arrest warrant by US judge Stephanie Bowman for “engaging in illicit sex with a minor in a foreign country”.

This led to his arrest on December 5 inside the Cathedral of Our Lady Rosary in Naval. He was then transferred to BI custody in Bicutan.

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The five new arrest warrants were issued last week at Biliran Regional Trial Court Branch 16 by Judge Constantino Esber.

More than 50 children — some as young as seven — have allegedly been molested by Hendricks since he arrived in the Philippines in 1968. 

Police said the victims, who were previously afraid to report to authorities due to apparent grave threats from Hendricks, only had the courage to come forward after learning that the priest has already been arrested by immigration authorities. He had allegedly told them that they would be sent to jail if they told anyone about the abuse.

The Catholic priest was ordained as a Franciscan priest and worked in the town of Naval.

He is now detained by the National Capital Region Police Office’s Special Operations Unit. 

President Duterte has repeatedly lashed out at the Catholic church and its priests over such abuses, claiming that he himself was sexually abused by an American priest in his high school days.

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