The U.S. clergy sexual abuse scandal now has spread across the world. Earlier this month, a 77-year old American priest working in the Philippines was arrested under a U.S. warrant for allegedly sexually abusing Filipino altar boys. Charged with illicit sexual conduct with minors, the Catholic priest faces deportation and a lifelong ban from the Philippines.
U.S. authorities provided information to the Immigration Bureau in the Philippines about the alleged abuse after the priest was indicted by a U.S. court on charges of “engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.” According to the U.S. indictment, the priest sexually abused altar boys ranging in age from seven to 12 in his private residence.
The altar boys were threatened that if they told anyone about the abuse, they would be sent to prison. Upon receipt of this information, the Philippines immigration authorities arrested the priest with the intention of deporting him back to the United States.
In addition to the U.S. indictment, the priest remains a subject of a separate investigation by the police in the Philippines. At least two Filipino boys have filed complaints in the Philippines against this priest. The priest does not have a prior history of arrests or complaints filed against him in the Philippines, and the local community in which he works was shocked by these allegations.
Serving in the Philippines for over 35 years, the accused priest was currently on assignment on the centrally located island of Biliran. The Philippines is a predominately Catholic nation. As in the United States, there has been a rise in the number of sexual abuse claims made against the clergy in that country. Early this year, a Filipino ex-priest was sentenced by a U.S. court for abusing minors during his time in the Philippines in the 1990s.
When a priest commits sexual abuse, it can be extremely difficult for the victims to come forward. After finally working up the courage to report the abuse, many survivors face a “conspiracy of silence” in the Catholic Church, which can prevent them from receiving the compensation that they deserve. Individuals reporting sexual abuse against their priests may be forced to sign confidentiality or non-waiver agreements before the Church makes any investigation or retribution.
In addition to the abuser, Church officials may also be held liable for their role in allowing the sexual abuse to occur. Monsignors, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals who played a role in covering up sexual abuse may be required to compensate victims for their injuries.
The first step in obtaining compensation in cases of sexual abuse by priests is to contact an experienced Scranton clergy abuse lawyer who can assist you in the legal process.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a priest, the compassionate and experienced Scranton clergy abuse lawyers at Williams Cedar are here to help. For a free consultation, please complete our online contact form or call us at our Philadelphia office at 215-557-0099 or our Haddonfield, New Jersey office at 856-470-9777. We represent clients in Allentown, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Johnstown, Eerie, Wilkes-Barre, and throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide.