Biliran Bishop Accused of Sexual Molestation

By Ging Reyes
December 29, 2007

A former missionary in Biliran, Leyte has accused the bishop of Naval town of sexually molesting boys.

Ging Reyes, ABS-CBN News North America bureau chief, reported that Stephen Michael Greinke, an ex-missionary who worked for the diocese of Naval in the Visayas, said he has been calling for the ouster of Catholic Bishop Filomento Bactol for the last seven years.

Greinke alleged that Bactol abused his power and sexually molested young boys.

"I lived with the bishop at his palace. And at night he would have young men sleeping in his bedroom - kids who were under the age of 16 sleeping with him at night. Again I thought that was very inappropriate and it became very 'gossiping, chismoso, around about the bishop's behavior with the children,'" Greinke told Reyes.

Greinke said he has written a sworn statement to detail his allegations. Copies of the testimony was given to the Vatican, American bishops and Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales.

He, however, admitted he never saw Bactol actually molesting the boys whom the priest invited to sleep with him in his bed.

"I never saw anything inappropriate. I did not see the bishop sexually molest (the boys). But the doors would be closed, his bedroom doors would be closed and the young men would be sleeping inside the room," the ex-missionary said.

Greinke said he confronted Bactol about this and the bishop told him: "Brother I cannot sleep, I need to have the boys with me."

Bactol invited Greinke to set up a community of brothers in Biliran in 1991. But Greinke said he did not get any support from the diocese.

"Lack of support totally. And the only way we could get him to come out and visit our monastery was bribing. I brought out chalices from America, I brought out chalices or vestments so he could come out and say mass for our monastery," Greinke said.

In 1993, Greinke was arrested for allegedly sexually molesting members of their congregation. The charges were later dismissed by the human rights commission.

Greinke also faced deportation after several complainants surfaced and accused him of being a pedophile in 1999.

He said the complaints were merely in retaliation for criticizing Bactol.

In March 2000, the former missionary voluntarily left the Philippines. He is now on the list of blacklisted aliens.

Though Bactol refused to comment on the charges, a spokesman of the diocese denied Greinke's accusations. "These accusations are all lies...the bishop is very very angry...the crimes this Greinke is accusing the Bishop of are the same accusations against him," the spokesman said.


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