|Filipino Priest, Accused of Having Child Porn, in Iloilo
November 4, 2011
LOWE Dongor, a priest charged in September with possessing child pornography and stealing from his parish in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, is now in Iloilo, a relative told GMA News Thursday.
Earlier, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported that the Diocese of Worcester could not account for Dongor’s whereabouts, and Bishop Robert McManus had written the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines warning that the priest might have returned to his home country.
Paul Jarvey, a spokesman for District Attorney Joseph Early Jr., said a default warrant had been issued for Dongor after the priest failed to show up for an Oct. 25 hearing.
Jarvey said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported that Dongor, the diocese’s first Filipino priest, had recently been in Korea.
In the letter to Filipino prelates, McManus said Donger left a note saying he would be returning home.
“I bring this matter to your Excellency’s attention in case Father Dongor presents himself to bishops in the archdioceses of the Philippines as a priest in good canonical standing,” McManus said in a letter to Bishop Nereo Odchimar, the CBCP president.
McManus had placed Dongor on administrative leave in July and relieved him of his duties as associate pastor at St. Joseph Parish in Fitchburg.
That action was taken after state police were notified by an independent computer service that one of Dongor’s laptops contained images of child pornography. Court records showed the photographs depicted girls around the ages of 10 and 11 in various states of undress.
The priest also allegedly admitted to police that on several occasions he stole “$40 or $50” from St. Joseph’s to send to his family in the Philippines.
Dongor, 35, was summoned to Fitchburg District Court on Sept. 9 on charges of larceny over $250, larceny from a building, and possession of child pornography.
He was released on personal recognizance. Officials said Wednesday they did not know if there were any conditions to the priest’s release,.
In a statement issued to the Telegram & Gazette, McManus said he requested that Donger move off church property until his case was adjudicated. Dongor stayed for a time with a Worcester-area family.
“Subsequently, it came to my attention that Father Dongor had left the family he was staying with in the local area,” McManus said.
“Although we did not know definitely at that time if he had returned to the Philippines, we notified the local authorities that we did not know his whereabouts and also notified the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. I did that because ... I wanted it known that he was not a priest in good canonical standing.”
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