|Us-based Priest Charged with Child Porn Back Home in Iloilo
By Jessica Dioquino
November 3, 2011
The Filipino priest who fled the United States while facing charges of possession of child pornographic materials has returned to the Philippines, his family confirmed Thursday.
According to relatives, Rev. Lowe B. Dongor arrived home in Iloilo last October 23.
Dongor, the first Filipino priest in the Diocese of Worcester in Massachussetts, was scheduled to go on trial on October 25 for charges of theft and possession of pornographic materials.
In an interview with GMA Iloilo, Dongor's sister-in-law said they do not believe the accusations against the priest.
“Hindi ako naniniwala. Basta ‘yung sa’min, mabait siya. Tumutulong siya sa kaniyang pamilya," said Margie Dongor.
No longer allowed to conduct priestly duties
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said they have told their members that Dongor is no longer allowed to conduct priestly duties.
The CBCP also said that they do not have an agreement with the Worcester Diocese on repatriating Dongor once he is found, because it is not within the jurisdiction of the church.
In a letter dated October 13, Most Rev. Robert McManus of the Worcester diocese wrote to CBCP president and Tandag Bishop Nereo Odchimar, warning that Dongor might be in the Philippines.
McManus said Dongor left a note saying that he was returning “home," which he thought “meant the Philippines."
“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."
Child pornography in his laptop
According to a report from the Telegram.com, Dongor was arraigned in Fitchburg District Court on September 12 for allegedly having images of child pornography in his laptop and for stealing from St. Joseph’s Parish in Worcester.
He was released on the condition that he would not use computers or have unsupervised contact with children under 14.
Dongor, who was an associate pastor of the parish, had been placed on administrative leave of absence since July, although the diocese claimed no complaints were received about him.
He was also prohibited from wearing clerical attire or presenting himself publicly as a priest. - HS, GMA News
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