Authorities from the National Bureau of Investigation Cagayan Valley Regional Office II (NBI CAVRO II) arrested the Assistant Paris Priest of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish of Solana, Cagayan for allegedly sexually abusing a 16-year-old youth minister member.
Five cases have been filed against Reverend Father Karole Reward Israel of Lal-lo, Cagayan, according to legal documents provided by the Cagayan Provincial Information Office.
Father Karole is facing charges against the Anti-sexual Harassment Act of 1995, violation of Article 337 of the RPC- Qualified Seduction as amended, Violence Against Women and their Children, Anti Photo and Video Voyeurism Act, and Child Abuse.
His alleged victim is a 16-year-old female youth minister member of the same church who came forward to her parents and teachers after months of harassment from the reverend.
According to the documents, the harassment started on February 08, 2022, when the priest invited the victim to dinner and drove her to Aparri, Cagayan. Before returning home, the priest parked near the victim’s house and allegedly kissed and caressed the minor, but the latter managed to escape.
“Victim resisted and until she eventually escaped from the car. Out of fear, Victim opted not to divulge it to her parents”, the documents said.
Weeks later, the priest had ‘Carnal Knowledge against her will’ with the victim which became a routine that mostly happened in motels, hotels, inside the car, and one time at the convent.
The priest also took videos of the intercourse and used them to threaten the victim if she doesn’t submit her body to his will, according to the documents.
On October 18, 2022, members of the NBI CAVRO II were notified of the situation by the victim’s parents and launched a rescue operation after the priest demanded another sexual favor from the victim and threatened to post the videos if she declines.
The priest fetched the victim at around 7:35 in the evening and drove to Barangay Iraga and parked in a dark area in an uninhabited rice field near an elementary school.
The team of NBI CAVRO II followed the two and approached the vehicle to rescue the victim and arrest the priest.
According to the documents, six sex videos were found in the reverend’s phone, along with screenshots of their conversation, and a recorded video call with the victim.
The victim has then been subjected to Medico-Legal Examination and Psychological Evaluation.
Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Tuguegarao has released a statement saying the church will fully cooperate with the ongoing investigation against the sexual misconduct charged against the reverend.
“He is meanwhile excused from the performance of his priestly obligations, except the obligation of prayer. If it is established that there is in fact a victim, assistance will likewise be extended.
Meanwhile, we earnestly ask for prayers for all our priests who bear all the frailties that afflict us all.”, the statement adds.