A FILIPINO Catholic priest, who is facing charges of rape and sexual abuse of a minor in the United States (US), has long been restricted from his priestly duties, according to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
In a statement, the Philadelphia Archdiocese said Filipino priest Armand Garcia, 49, was placed on administrative leave as early as March 2018 after the Philadelphia Police Department notified the former of the latter’s investigation.
“Fr. Garcia was immediately placed on administrative leave and had his priestly faculties restricted by Archbishop Chaput following the notification from law enforcement. He was also removed from his residence at Saint Martin of Tours Parish in Philadelphia, where he had been assigned,” said the Archdiocese.
“During the course of his administrative leave, Fr. Garcia was not permitted to exercise public ministry, administer any of the Sacraments, or present himself publicly as a priest,” it added.
Also, the Archdiocese assured that the circumstances surrounding Garcia’s administrative leave were communicated to the parishioners at that time.
Since that time, the Philadelphia Archdiocese said it cooperated with law enforcement during the course of the criminal investigation that has been ongoing for the past year.
Garcia had also lived in a private residence for the duration of that period with no access to any parish or school.
The statement was issued after Garcia was arrested last Monday, March 4, to face charges of rape, corruption of a minor, and sexual abuse of a minor.
“These charges are serious and disturbing,” said the Archdiocese.
It said it will cooperate fully with law enforcers regarding the charges against Garcia.
The Philadelphia Archdiocese also guaranteed that it remains committed to preventing child abuse, as well as protecting the children and young people entrusted to its care.
To note, Garcia was ordained as a priest in 2005 and has since been assigned in different parishes, schools, and offices.
Garcia has served at the Saint Joseph, Downington (2005-2008); Saint Eleanor, Collegeville (2008-2009); Saint Katherine of Siena, Philadelphia (2009-2010); Our Lady of the Assumption, Strafford (2011); Immaculate Heart of Mary, Philadelphia (2011-2017); and Saint Martin of Tours, Philadelphia (2017-2018). (HDT/SunStar Philippines)