Kudos to Bureau of Immigration-Fugitive Search Unit for United States priest’s arrest

December 08, 2018

THE recent arrest of 77-year-old Fr. Kenneth Bernard Pius Hendricks, an American Catholic priest who allegedly sexually molested a huge number of minors in Biliran, in one of whose Churches he had been serving, is just so appalling.

Information provided by Bureau of Immigration-Fugitive Search Unit (BI-FSU) chief Bobby Raquepo has it that Hendricks had been serving for at least the past 37 years and had victimized over 50 minors mostly altar boys or ‘sacristans,’ some of whom are even below 10 years old.

Wanted by US authorities, Hendricks was swiftly arrested by the FSU team led by Raquepo and intelligence officer Rendel Ryan Sy, who were joined by members of the US Department of Homeland Security.

Funny thing is, Hendricks, who was in handcuffs when he arrived at the domestic terminal, constantly covered his face with a white handtowel and he evaded the media.

From the airport, he was made to board a BI van and was taken to the bureau’s main office in Intramuros for proper documentation before being brought to the BI’s detention facility in Bicutan.

Even while already inside the van, he still covered his face but seemingly did not have any shame when he molested the young boys whom he was able to take advantage of because they looked up to him since he was a so-called ‘man of the cloth.’

Raquepo said the arrest of Hendricks in the Diocese of Naval town, Biliran Island, stemmed from the latter’s indictment before the Ohio court on charges of “engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.”

On November 30, 2018, US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio Magistrate Judge Stephanie Bowman issued an arrest warrant against Hendricks for engaging in illict sexual conduct in foreign places under case number 118MJ-719.

Hendricks had reportedly been serving in a church in Naval, a second-class municipality and the capital of the province of Biliran, located in the Eastern Visayan region with a population of more than 50,000 people.

Raquepo said the arrest came following a request from the US government, particularly the US Homeland Security, for the arrest and subsequent deportation of Hendricks.

Luckily, some of the victims have come forward to complain formally, accusing Hendricks of sexually assaulting a good number of young boys living in his residence.

To top it all, this priest, again according to the information received by the BI, had the temerity to warn his victims that they would go to prison if they told anyone about the molestation they have been experiencing from him.

While the US Embassy is reportedly processing the revocation of Hendricks’ passport to help facilitate his immediate deportation, Raquepo said the priest will have to be processed initially and then subsequently committed to the BI’s detention facility in Bicutan.

Pending the resolution of the criminal cases filed against him, Hendricks’ deportation will have to be held in abeyance until such time that a final judgment is issued against him by the local court.

The case of Hendricks may be a big blow to the Catholic Church but this should not trigger a sweeping generalization as all other religions have their share of ‘rotten eggs’, too.

By the way, kudos to Raquepo and his men for having swiftly arrested Hendricks, who, if allowed to continue being scot-free, may have victimized even more innocent young boys in the said town.

I hope that authorities concerned will act just as quick to heal the boys who were ‘scarred’ by the ordeal they suffered in the hands of Hendricks.

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