Charges announced against Ohio priest accused of sexually abusing young boys

77-year-old Reverend Kenneth Bernard Hendricks is accused of sexually abusing young boys in the Philippines. (Courtesy: ASSOCIATED PRESS/BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION PIO)

Charges were expected to be announced against a Cincinnati-area priest over allegations he sexually abused multiple young boys.

The Department of Justice announced Thursday that a Catholic priest, who was assigned internationally by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for mission work, will have multiple charges brought against him.

The priest was identified as 77-year-old Reverend Kenneth Bernard Hendricks by the Philippine Bureau of Immigration.

Hendricks was arrested Wednesday in a church in Naval in the island province of Biliran, per immigration officials. The US criminal case stemmed from complaints by alleged Filipino victims, according to officials. US authorities provided information about the alleged assaults to the Philippine government.

Hendricks was accused of abusing seven victims, who served mostly as altar boys in Naval.

According to US Attorney Benjamin Glassman the victims, “told fairly similar stories.” He went on to say Hendricks, “befriended them, 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 genitalsand ultimately have oral or anal sex with the victims.”

Glassman said the investigation has not concluded. They are still looking into whether other victims exist in the US, the Philippines, or elsewhere. Glassman said of Hendricks’ alleged conduct, “it’s horrible horrible abusive conduct; it is grooming children young children interested in being involved in church activities and taking those kids and sexually abusing them.”

After the news broke, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati said Hendricks was not ever a priest in the Ohio-based diocese.

The diocese said that Hendricks did receive financial support from the organization, but he was never employed by it. The diocese admitted that it should have made Hendrick's status with the organization more clear. The organization added he was not a priest at the time he departed for the Philippines, but he became one there.

The Archdiocese put out a statement regarding Fr. Kenneth Hendricks:

Fr. Kenneth Hendricks, who was arrested in the city of Naval in the Philippines on Dec. 5, 2018 is not, nor has 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.

ABC 6/FOX 28 will continue to update this story.

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