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'Our Reach Is Global': Why U.S. Attorney Pursues Overseas Child Sexual Abuse Cases

Bill Rinehart
A wanted poster for the Rev. Kenneth Bernard Hendricks sits on display at the U.S. Attorney's office.

American and Filipino officials are discussing where a priest with Cincinnati ties should be tried first for allegedly molesting young boys. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Ben Glassman announced the arrest of 77-year-old Kenneth Hendricks Thursday morning.

Hendricks is accused of sexually abusing 10 boys in the Philippines while working as a missionary there, but Glassman says he will also be charged in the United States. "There is a federal statute that criminalizes a United States citizen either traveling to or residing in a foreign country and there engaging in illicit sexual conduct and sexual abuse of a minor counts."

Glassman says conviction carries up to 30 years in prison. He says it's not known when Hendricks could be returned to Cincinnati to stand trial.

"I want to prosecute this case," Glassman says. "The United States has an obligation to protect the most vulnerable. It is a solemn obligation to protect children from sexual abuse. The allegations in this case are extremely serious. Our reach is global."

The Cincinnati Archdiocese says Hendricks was not ordained locally and had not received any assignments from the archdiocese.

Glassman says Hendricks traveled back to Cincinnati from the Philippines every year. Investigators are looking for local victims as well.