The Archdiocese of Tuguegarao vowed to “fully cooperate” with authorities to investigate an alleged sexual misconduct of one of its priests.
In a statement, the archdiocese said it will “fully cooperate with the prosecution service” in the conduct of an “unbiased preliminary investigation.”
The archdiocese added that it will extend its assistance “if it is established that there is in fact a victim.”
It said it will make the accused priest “available for all prosecutorial and judicial proceedings,” adding that the alleged perpetrator has been “excused from the performance of his priestly obligations.”
On October 18, authorities arrested Father Karole Reward Israel, the 29-year-old assistant parish priest of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Solana town, Cagayan province, for the alleged abuse of a 16-year-old member of the youth ministry.
Charges of sexual harassment, qualified seduction, violence against women and children, violation of anti-photo and video voyeurism law, and child abuse have already been filed before the prosecutor’s office.
A report from the National Bureau of Investigation alleged that the priest “molested” his victim several times before the arrest.
Authorities said the priest has been asking the girl for sexual favors and has been threatening to leak their “sex videos” if she refused.
The priest has been temporarily released after posting a PhP183,000 bail bond.
According to the complaint, the priest’s sexual misconduct started on February 8, when he invited the girl to dinner and drove to the town of Aparri.
The priest allegedly kissed and touched the minor after he parked his car near the victim’s house.
The complaint said the victim “resisted” and “eventually escaped from the car,” but “out of fear,” she “opted not to divulge [the incident] to her parents.”
After a few weeks, the complaint said the priest had “carnal knowledge” with the victim that became a routine. It reportedly happened in motels, hotels, inside the car, and even in the priest’s convent.
The priest also reportedly took videos of the sexual act and used it to threaten the victim.