Accused Pinoy Priest Faces Defrocking

By Joseph Pimentel
Asian Journal
December 31, 2011

A FILIPINO priest who fled charges of possessing child pornography and stealing from his parish may soon be defrocked from the Roman Catholic Church.

The Diocese of Worcester has asked the Vatican to defrock the Rev. Lowe B. Dongor, according to the Worcester Telegram.

The 35-year-old Dongor, who was the Diocese of Worcester’s first Filipino priest, fled the US and went to the Philippines, after being charged with possessing child pornography and larceny over $250.

Dongor was placed on administrative leave of absence and relieved of his duties last July. He fled before his October 25 court hearing. A warrant has been issued for Dongor’s arrest.

The Worcester Telegram reports “chancery officials said they are seeking to oust Rev. Dongor in the wake of a ‘clarification’ last spring by church officials in Rome that possession of child pornography is grounds for removal from the priesthood.”

The Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith earlier this year declared that “the acquisition, possession, and distribution of child pornography is a canonical delict that pertains to the sexual abuse of a minor,” reports the Telegram.

The Telegram also reports that a spokesman for the diocese said that Bishop Robert McManus has asked Pope Benedict XVI to defrock Dongor in light of the pornography allegations.

According to police, when Dongor was brought in for questioning, he allegedly admitted that on several occasions he stole “$40 or $60” from the parish office in Fitchburg to wire home to his family in the Philippines and also admitted to visiting several child pornography websites.

He was released on personal recognizance by Judge Andrew L. Mandell and was ordered not to use computers and have unsupervised contact with children under 14.

Dongor is believed to be hiding in the Philippines. Several media outlets there have reported that Dongor has returned to his hometown of Barotac Nuevo, Iloilo, in October.

Worcester law enforcement officials are working with local authorities in the Philippines to locate Dongor and once captured, plan to extradite him back to Massachusetts to face charges.

“Once he’s found, the wheels will be put in motion to bring him back,” said Timothy Connolly, a spokesman for the District Attorney’s office in Worcester.

If Dongor is defrocked, he will be the second priest to ever be dismissed.

Last year, the pope ousted Thomas H. Teczar from the priesthood after he was convicted in Texas of sexually abusing a boy and after being publicly accused of molesting at least two Central Massachusetts youths, according to the Telegram.


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