Filipino police arrests priest caught with 13-year-old girl

Police say priest stopped with minor while heading to a motel, diocese launches probe
Filipino police arrests priest caught with 13-year-old girl

Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos has been relieved of his duties in the Antipolo Diocese following his arrest. (Photo by Noli Yamsuan)

July 31, 2017
A Catholic priest in the Philippines has been arrested after being caught in a car with a 13-year-old girl.

The priest was reportedly taking her to a motel after picking the girl up from a 16-year-old pimp.

Authorities arrested Monsignor Arnel Lagarejos, a parish priest in the town of Taytay and president of a Catholic school in Cainta, in Rizal province on July 28.

They said the priest was caught in a sting operation led by the social welfare office of Marikina city.

Bishop Francisco de Leon of Antipolo said the priest has already been relieved of his duties in the diocese following the arrest.

Antipolo Diocese said in a statement that it is looking into the arrest of Lagarejos.

"Alleged violations against the Anti-Child Abuse Law and Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act are serious allegations that have to be dealt by the authorities accordingly," read the statement.

"We assure the public that we respect the necessary procedures as provided by law in order to further investigate the matter," it added.

The diocese also urged the public to "refrain from issuing unnecessary comments that might worsen the situation."

"Instead, we appeal for all the faithful to pray that the truth may come out," the statement said.

Lagarejos holds a doctorate in Moral Theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and a licentiate in theology from the Loyola School of Theology in Quezon City.

The priest refused to speak to the media.


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