TACLOBAN CITY- An American priest based in Naval, Biliran was arrested for allegedly engaging in sexual activities involving minors on Wednesday (Dec.5) morning.
Arrested was Father Kenneth Bernard Hendricks by members of the local police and personnel of the US Homeland Security inside the Cathedral of Our Lady Rosary Parish at about 11 am, Senior Supt. Julius Coyme, police provincial director, said in a phone interview.
Hendricks, 71, was said to have sexually abused ‘several’ minor boys, many of them served as his sacristan.
“He was inside the church when he was arrested by the personnel of the US Homeland Security and local police. He did not resist the arrest,” Coyme said.
Personnel of the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation were also around during the arrest of Hendricks, said to have been living in Naval for 40 years now.
The priest is facing indecent sexual conducts involving minors, the police provincial director said.
The American priest is expected to be deported to the US to face charges against him.
Coyme said that based on their records, the American priest, who lived in Barangay Talustusan, Naval town, is facing seven complaints of sexual abuse.
“But of the seven complainants filed, only two proceeded with their complaints,” he said.
One of them was sexually abused by Hendricks when he was just 12 years old.
According to the complaint of the minor, Hendricks ‘kissed his lips, fondled his penis and performed masturbation.’
Coyme said that based on the information he gathered from the US personnel, there could be other victims of sexual abuses committed by Hendricks.
“They came to us last week and informed us that they are still gathering information as there could be more victims of the American priest,” the police official said.
The priest, who was first brought to the Biliran Provincial Hospital for medical check-up, was immediately brought by the BID and US Homeland Security personnel to Manila after he was arrested.
Coyme could not provide additional details on the case involving the American priest. (JOEY A. GABIETA) x