Parish priest accused of abusing minor

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A PARISH priest was arrested in Marikina City Friday evening, after he allegedly abused a 13-year-old girl while on their way to a motel.

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Chief Supt. Romulo Sapitula, Eastern Police District director, identified the priest as Msgr. Arnel Lagarejos, 55.

He was arrested at around 6:30 p.m. while inside his gray Ford explorer with plate number TGO 350 at the parking area of Blue Wave Mall along Sumulong Hi-way, in Barangay Sto. Niño, Marikina City.

If proven guilty, Lagarejos will be charged with violation of the anti-trafficking in persons act.

A report by the Marikina police said Lagarejos allegedly booked the minor, also an out-of-school youth, through 16-year-old “ARB,” who served as pimp. They were reported to be meeting at the Blue Wave Mall.

Among those recovered from the priest were his cellphone which contained messages of the transaction between the victim, the pimp and the suspect.

The victim is in the custody of the Marikina Police Women and Children’s Protection Desk (WCPD), while Lagarejos is detained at the Marikina Police headquarters as of press time.

The arrest was made based on a tip from the victim’s mother who earlier reported to the Marikina City Police WCPD.

Based on the suspect’s LinkedIn account, Lagarejos, a resident of Antipolo City, was president of the Cainta Catholic College and parish priest of Our Lady of Abandoned Parish from Feb 2000 to April 2006.

Reporters tried but failed to get a reaction from the church, or the suspect.

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