By Marie Marticio and Jun Ramirez
TACLOBAN CITY – Biliran police and agents from the US Department of Homeland Security arrested an American priest based in Naval, Biliran, on Wednesday who had been charged for allegedly molesting over 50 minors.
Kenneth Bernard Hendricks, 71, who has been living in Barangay Talustusan in Naval for almost four decades, was arrested on the strength of a warrant issued by the US District Court of Ohio last November 30 for sexual abuse complaints.
Sr. Supt. Julius Coyme, Biliran police chief, said Hendricks was arrested at the Cathedral of Our Lady Rosary Parish about 11 a.m. in the presence of Bureau of Immigration representatives.
Hendricks was charged with transporting minors and engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.
“Initially there were seven complaints filed against him, but only two of them prospered,” Coyme said.
The priest was brought to Tacloban DZR Airport after he was examined at Biliran Provincial Hospital.
Immigration spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval said the victims are all residents of the Naval Diocese, a second-class municipality and capital of the province.
The victims had signed compliant affidavits against the priest, Sandoval said.
The US embassy in Manila is processing the revocation of Hendricks’ passport to help facilitate his deportation.