Monday, July 20, 2015

Pinoy priest in hot water in Oregon over ‘bathroom camera’

A Filipino priest in Sherwood, Oregon, was put on administrative leave in connection with the hidden camera that was found in the bathroom next to the vesting room of St. Francis Catholic Church, reports said.

report on CBS5 said the Archdiocese of Portland placed Father Ysrael Bien on administrative leave for "his failure to report to the police the discovery of a hidden camera in a church restroom and subsequent misleading statements that have involved him in an ongoing criminal investigation."

Bien reportedly told the parents of the boy who found the hidden camera that a police investigation was already being conducted when in truth there was none. The police learned of the incident 22 days after the camera was discovered.

The CBS5 report said an investigating officer believed Bien may have committed some or all offenses drawn up during the investigation, including "attempted invasion of personal privacy, tampering with physical evidence, burglary and initiating a false report."

Sherwood police confiscated his computer, a hard drive, a USB flash drive, his iPhone, and iPods through a search warrant.

separate report on Oregon Live said a search warrant affidavit filed in Washington County Circuit Court accused Bien of either installing or aiding the installation of the camera found by a 15-year-old on April 26.

The teenager discovered the camera last April 6 placed at waist-height next to the toilet connected to the vesting room where priests and altar servers prepare for mass. He then brought it to Bien.

Bien reportedly reassured the teenager and his father that he would contact the police, but the 34-year-old priest fabricated updates for the teenager's parents until they grew suspicious.

The parents then contacted the church's deacon for the police report and was advised to ask Bien for it. Bien would then tell the deacon and the teenager's father in a meeting on May 19 that the camera went missing after he placed it in a drawer in the vesting room.

The deacon and the priest would later agree to alert authorities and the Archdiocese of Portland after the deacon and the boy's dad decided that Bien should "come clean about his lies."

WKBN report quoted Police Capt. Ty Hanlon as saying that they were "still trying to develop information" in the active investigation and still labeled Bien as a "person of interest" rather than a suspect. Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News

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