‘Disciple’ charged with abusing 3 choir members in island town-A A +A
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
THREE women from the island town of Tudela in Cebu accused a “disciple” of the Catholic charismatic movement El Shaddai of sexually abusing them.
Chief Insp. Edward Anunciado Sanchez, Tudela town police chief, filed three separate complaints of acts of lasciviousness in relation to Republic Act 7610 (Child Abuse Law) against the suspect before the Office of the Cebu Provincial Prosecutor on June 18.
The three complainants are choir members of the religious sect. Sun. Star Cebu withheld the name of the suspect pending his comment.
Under Article 336 of the Revised Penal Code, the penalty for acts of lasciviousness is prision correccional, or a jail term ranging from six months and one day to six years.
In the sworn statement of one of the three victims, the girl, who was then 12 years old, said she was playing with fellow choir members in 2009 when she felt pain in her left wrist.
The complainant, from Sitio Cubi in Barangay Calmante, Tudela, said the suspect, whom she called “Tatay,” offered to massage her wrist.
He massaged her wrist then started touching her privates, the girl said in her sworn statement.
The girl told the suspect to stop, and he later obliged.
After that incident, the girl said she tried to stay away from the suspect, especially whenever they have choir practice.
The girl said she confided the incident to her mother only recently after she heard rumors that the suspect also allegedly sexually harassed other choir members.
The second complainant, a 14-year-old girl also from Barangay Calmante, said she was in the house of the suspect in Barangay Northern Poblacion in 2007.
At 8 p.m., the girl said she was lying in bed beside her brother when the suspect asked her if her feet were still aching.
When she said yes, the suspect offered to massage her feet.
“I obliged since I have due respect to him since he is our disciple in the El Shaddai ministry,” she said in her sworn statement.
But the girl said she was surprised when he started to touch her body and privates.
The girl said she just went to sleep. The following day, she told her brother to go home.
The third complainant, a 25-year-old woman from Barangay General, said she was in the office of the El Shaddai in Barangay Northern Poblacion in March 2004 along with other choir members and their trainer.
During their practice, she said she felt cramping on her left breast and asked for assistance from other choir members.
She said she was brought to a woman’s house. Later, she said the suspect offered to massage her breast.
When her colleagues went out of the house, the suspect started molesting her, said the victim, who told the suspect to stop.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 21, 2012.