Bureau of Immigration, Republic of the Philippines
BILIRAN, Philippines—Bureau of Immigration (BI) agents have arrested a 77-year-old American Catholic priest wanted by US authorities for sexually molesting several boys in Biliran.
Immigration Spokesperson Dana Krizia Sandoval said that Fr. Kenneth Bernard Hendricks was arrested Wednesday in the Diocese of Naval town, Biliran Island by operatives from the Bureau’s Fugitive Search Unit (FSU). He was arrested following an investigation conducted by the BI and the Philippine National Police.
Naval is a second-class municipality, and is the capital of the province of Biliran, located in the Eastern Visayan region. It has a population of more than 50,000 people.
“We received information from US authorities regarding the alleged sexual exploitation of multiple minor Filipino boys by Hendricks,” said Sandoval. “Several of his victims have come forward with their statements,” she added.
It was reported that Hendricks allegedly sexually assaulted a number of minor boys living in his residence. According to statements, the priest allegedly warned his victims that they would go to prison if they told anyone about the molestation. Sandoval said the news was both “shocking and appalling,” and prompted immigration authorities to immediately act on the case.
Sandoval revealed that the American priest is the subject of an arrest warrant issued by a court in Ohio, and stated that he will be expelled from the country because he is “a fugitive from justice that poses a risk to public safety and security.” She added that “his presence is a threat to the safety of our children.”
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.
Sandoval condemned Hendricks’ actions. “We will not allow sexual predators to prey on our children,” said Sandoval. “People like him must be kicked out and banned from the Philippines,” she added.
The US embassy is reportedly processing the revocation of Hendrick’s passport to help facilitate his immediate deportation.