Pinoy priest charged with rape in Philadelphia barred from ministry since March 2018

Pinoy priest charged with rape in Philadelphia  barred from ministry since March 2018

By CBCP News

March 7, 2019

Manila, Philippines

A Filipino Catholic priest who is facing charges of rape and sexual abuse of a minor on the U.S. East Coast has long been restricted from his priestly duties.

Philadelphia priest Armand Garcia, 49, was briefly behind bars on March 4 for alleged crimes committed between 2014 and 2017.

Garcia turned himself to authorities on Monday and reportedly posted 10 percent of his US$250,000 bail.

“These charges are serious and disturbing,” said Kenneth Gavin, chief communications officer for the Philadelphia archdiocese, in a statement.

Garcia was placed on administrative leave since March 2018 after police notified the archdiocese of their investigation.

Since then, the priest has been living in a private residence with no access to any parish or school.

Gavin said the archdiocese cooperated with law enforcement during the course of the criminal investigation that has been ongoing for the past year.

“The archdiocese remains fervently committed to preventing child abuse as well as protecting the children and young people entrusted to its care,” he added.

The church official said Garcia had cleared all criminal background checks as well as child abuse clearances and completed a “safe environment” training courses.

Garcia was ordained a priest for the Philadelphia archdiocese in 2005.

The priest was serving as pastor St. Martin of Tours parish in the city’s Summerdale section when the allegations erupted. He was transferred to the said post from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Roxborough in November 2017.