Altar boys say priest punched them

But the Father "has denied intentionally hurting the boys"

Altar boys say priest punched them
Schoolchildren in Santa Rosa, Olango Island (photo courtesy of Learning Tools for Global Schools) reporter, Cebu City, Philippines

March 10, 2011

Altar boys in a parish in the central Philippine province of Cebu have accused their priest of physically abusing them. The acolytes accused Father Leopoldo Palacio Jr. of Sta. Rosa village on Olango Island of punching them when they arrived late for Mass last Sunday, Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said today after meeting the boys yesterday to hear their complaint. The prelate said the priest has denied “intentionally hurting the boys” but did not attend the meeting. "I heard from Father [Palacio] that it was a joke. But according to the boys it was painful," Archbishop Palma said. He said he will raise the matter with the board of consultors, an advisory body composed of Church officials, for advice on what action to take. Parish volunteer and designated spokesperson for the boys Flora Ford said the acolytes felt relieved after their talk with the archbishop. "They are worried Father Palacio will remain in the parish. We have asked that he be transferred," she said in Cebuano. She added the boys did not want to attend Mass any more and have refused to serve the parish. PV13599