|Us-Based Pinoy Priest Caught with Child Porn May Be Hiding in Phl
By Carmela Lapeña
October 31, 2011
A US-based Filipino priest who was caught with child pornography in his computer disappeared before he could go on trial and is suspected to be hiding in the Philippines. Catholic officials in the United States warned the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) about the status of Rev. Lowe B. Dongor who was suspended from his ministry over charges of theft and possession of pornographic materials.
According to a report on the CBCP website on Monday, Most Rev. Robert McManus of Worcester diocese in Massachusetts told the CBCP that Dongor was scheduled to go on trial last October 25 but disappeared from the diocese before he could appear in court in the US.
In a letter dated October 13, McManus informed CBCP president and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar in a letter that Dongor might be in the Philippines.
McManus said Dongor left a note saying that he was returning "home." "I presume that he meant the Philippines," McManus said. Because of the charges against him, Dongor has been removed from active ministry. Dongor was an associate pastor of St. Joseph's Parish in Worcester, Massachussetts.
He was also prohibited from wearing clerical attire or presenting himself publicly as a priest.
"I bring this matter to Your Excellency's attention in case Father Dongor presents himself to Bishops in the arch/dioceses of the Philippines as a priest in good canonical standing," McManus wrote to Odchimar.
"Obviously this is not the case," McManus added.
In his letter, McManus cited that on May 3 this year, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith declared that "the acquisition, possession and distribution of child pornography is a canonical delict that pertains to the sexual abuse of a minor." The CBCP said diocesan records revealed that Dongor was born on February 17, 1976 in Iloilo, Philippines and attended Barotac Nuevo High School, graduating in 1993.
Dongor was ordained to the priesthood on June 2, 2010.
Under investigation According to a report of the Telegram.com, Dongor — the Diocese of Worcester's first Filipino priest — was arraigned in Fitchburg District Court on September 12 this year on charges of possessing child pornography and stealing from the parish. The Telegram said images of child pornography were found in his laptop by an independent computer service, which notified police. The report notes that court documents state the images depicted prepubescent girls in various states of undress.
Dongor was released on the condition that he would not use computers or have unsupervised contact with children under 14. Dongor had been placed on administrative leave of absence since July, although the diocese claimed no complaints were received about him.
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