Cincinnati priest accused of abusing altar boys in the Philippines
By John London
WLWT & AP
December 06, 2018
A priest from Cincinnati is under arrest in the Philippines, accused of molesting minors.
Authorities are trying to determine if he might have sexually abused anyone in his home area.
The Rev. Kenneth Bernard Hendricks, 77, was taken into custody two days ago and charged with abusingat least five and maybe as many as 10 boys, ranging in age from 7 to the teens.
According to U.S. Attorney Ben Glassman, Hendricks met the boys through his Catholic missionary work.
"He befriended them," explained Glassman, who described the behavior as horrifying. "He would invite them to his residence, often to take a bath or a shower. That interaction would then proceed to kissing, and then he would fondle their genitals, masturbate them or masturbate with them and ultimately have oral and anal sex with the victims."
Hendricks has been in the Philippines for 37 years, but through passport travel records, investigators found he would regularly return to the States, sometimes for months at a time.
They say he has a residence in the Cincinnati area and visited as recently as this past summer.
"Mr. Hendricks has been active in the church for over 60 years and has been assigned to various locations within the Cincinnati, Ohio, area, as well as several locations in the Philippines," stated Steve Francis, of Homeland Security Investigations.
The Archdiocese of Cincinnati issued a statement this afternoon, disavowing a connection with Hendricks, saying: "(He) is not, nor has (he) ever been, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. To the best of our knowledge, he was ordained to the priesthood in the Philippines to serve in the diocese of Naval. He has never had any assignment with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
"Although not a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Fr. Hendricks is listed on our website as a Catholic missionary serving in Asia. He is one of around 75 missionaries from Southwest Ohio who receive some financial support from the Mission Office of the Archdiocese. None of these individuals work for, or take direction from, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
"The abuse of children or any vulnerable person is abhorrent and needs to be prosecuted. We are cooperating fully with the Department of Justice and Homeland Security regarding this matter, and urge anyone with any information about Fr. Hendricks to call the phone number provided this morning by Homeland Security, 513-246-1461.
"We are also working diligently to make the faithful aware of Fr. Hendrick's arrest and learn of any potential interaction he may have had with anyone locally. We will be posting all of this information on our website and social media platforms."
From what investigators have determined so far, they believe there is a high probability other children may have been abused.
"We want to find out (if there are) any victims in the United States, in Cincinnati, in Ohio, Los Angeles or wherever," said Glassman.
"And that's part of the purpose of showing his picture."
One Filipino boytold police there the sexual abuse he had endured had been going on since 2009.
The most recent reference is to the end of this past October.
"Given that Hendricks has had trips to and from the United States all during that time, I'm not concerned at this point about any particular statute of limitations," Glassman said.
It's not clear if Hendricks would be brought to the States for criminal prosecution.
Charged as a U.S. citizen, he is subject to a potential 30-year prison term if convicted.