Girl Praised for Reaction in Priest Luring Case
April 14, 2014
Court documents obtained by KGW tell the story of a courageous teenaged girl who kept her head and did the right thing when police said she was pursued by a man in a car.
The Vancouver teen did not panic as a stranger stalked and beckoned her last week, according to court documents. She ran into a day care to call her mother,
The suspect in the case, Father Michael Patrick of St. Wenceslaus Church in Scappoose, remained in a Los Angeles jail Tuesday awaiting extradition to Washington.
The girl was walking down Northeast 28th Street on March 10, near a strip mall, when a man drove up beside her. Several times, the man asked her to get in and each time, she refused, according to an arrest affidavit by Vancouver police Det. Jason Hafer.
She walked faster, turning onto Northeast 132nd Avenue. The man continued to stalk her, at one point telling her, "Come on, cutie." That's when she walked into a day care to call her mom.
The girl was able to provide a license number and later identify a suspect tied to the vehicle. She told Vancouver officer David Jensen that she was certain of an "11" on a scale of one to 10 that it was the same man.
Jensen had stopped Patrick earlier and asked him about the incident with the girl. He denied what she had said about a stalker. Jensen said there were long pauses before he answered questions, and he appeared several times to shed tears.
On March 25, police returned to Patrick's residence with a search warrant. He was not there and neighbors said he had left for a trip to Australia, returning April 2. Police then issued a warrant for his arrest on a charge of luring.
Patrick was arrested as he walked off a plane at Los Angeles International Airport.
Nearby residents praised the girl’s courage and judgment.
“I’m glad she did the right thing and did what she should have done,” said Ashley Lanham.
The Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon issued a statement that said Father Patrick has been removed from pastoral duties. Church authorities were cooperating with investigators, spokesman Bud Bunce said in the statement.
"Ultimately, we must trust in the justice system," Bunce said. "We ask all to join us in prayer for justice."
The Catholic Sentinel reported that Father Patrick has served in the archdiocese since 1998.
Father Patrick also has served at St. Alexander in Cornelius, St. Patrick in Portland, St. Edward in Keizer, St. Philip Benizi in Redland and Holy Trinity in Bandon, the Sentinel reported.