|Priest Facing Child Porn Raps Visits Kin in Iloilo
November 2, 2011
MANILA, Philippines - A Filipino priest who is facing larceny and child pornography raps in the US has returned to his home town of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo before he could stand trial before a US court.
Relatives of US-based Filipino priest Lowe B. Dongor confirmed that Lowe paid a visit to their old home in Barangay Agcoyawan in Barotac Nuevo last week.
Lowe's brother, Joey, said the US-based priest is kind and hardworking, which helped him pursue his calling as a missionary.
The Dongor clan said they were surprised when Lowe visited their home last Thursday. They said they had not seen Lowe for many years after he was ordained as a priest.
The family said they could not believe the charges being leveled against Lowe. They said Lowe did not say why he had come home so suddenly and even chose to stay at a pension house in town instead of staying at their home.
A check by the ABS-CBN News Team Wednesday morning showed that the priest had already checked out of the pension house.
A Catholic Free Press report earlier said Dongor, 35, of 51 Illinois St., Worcester, was arraigned last September 13 in Fitchburg District Court on charges of possession of child pornography, larceny of more than $250 and larceny from a building.
Dongor is accused of having pictures on his laptop of girls around the ages of 10 and 11 in various stages of undress. He is also accused of having stolen $40 or $50 on several occasions from the parish office, according to police reports. He was said to have sent the money home to his family in the Philippines.
Because of the charges, Dongor has been removed from active ministry and prohibited from wearing a clerical attire or present himself publicly as a priest.
He was released from prison on recognizance.
Last Monday, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said it received word that Dongor had fled his diocese and might have returned to the Philippines.
A CBCPNews report said Most Rev. Robert McManus of Worcester diocese in Massachusetts, USA told the CBCP that Dongor had fled his diocese before he could go on trial on October 25.
McManus said the priest left a note saying that he was returning "home."
“I presume that he meant the Philippines,” McManus said in his letter to CBCP president and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar.
In his letter, McManus said that on May 3, 2011 a recent clarification from 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.”
“I bring this matter to Your Excellency’s attention in case Fr. Dongor presents himself to Bishops in the arch/dioceses of the Philippines as a priest in good canonical standing,” McManus said, adding: “Obviously this is not the case.”
Diocesan records revealed that Dongor was born on February 17, 1976 in Iloilo, Philippines and attended Barotac Nuevo High School, graduating in 1993.
He was ordained to the priesthood on June 2, 2010.
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