Indian Catholic News

Filipino priest accused of sex abuse goes missing

Pampanga prelate says he is confident Father Daniel Baul will appear to fight charges of abusing teenage girl.

Catholic priests join a religious procession in the Philippine capital Manila. (File photo by Jojo Rinoza)

A Filipino priest accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl in Pampanga Archdiocese has gone missing, according to his archbishop.

Archbishop Florentino Lavarias of Pampanga said he does not know the whereabouts of Father Daniel Baul.

"His whereabouts are not known me," said the prelate, although he added that he trusts the priest will "not try to evade the case."

"In due time, [he will] appear in court to try and prove his claim of innocence," said Archbishop Lavarias.

Father Baul earlier relieved of his priestly duties following allegations he abused the girl in a church-based center for women and children.

In an earlier statement, Archbishop Lavarias said that, "As a matter of protocol, the accused, though innocent until proven guilty, had been relieved from his duties."

The prelate assured that an "ecclesiastical investigation" was ongoing and the archdiocese had been working with civil authorities "so that truth and justice may be served for all parties concerned."

"The archdiocese wishes to assure everyone concerned that it has every intention to cooperate with the civil authorities and to respect the legal process of our judicial system," Archbishop Lavarias said.

He said the archdiocese is also extending "pastoral care" to the alleged victim. "Kindly join us in praying to God for the immediate resolution of the case," said the prelate.

"In our common desire to search for truth and justice, let our passion be tempered by prudence, decency and respect," Lavarias said.

The alleged victim made a formal complaint to the authorities, resulting in the issuance of an arrest warrant.

Source: UCAN

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