Latest Stories

Priest facing child pornography case deported to US


ILOILO CITY, Philippines—A Filipino Catholic priest wanted in the United States for theft and possession of child pornography has surrendered to Philippine authorities after more than a year as a fugitive.

“I am so sorry. I want to apologize to all the people… for the damage I have done to you all, to the Church and to myself,” Fr. Lowe Dongor said in an interview in Iloilo.

A native of Barotac Nuevo town in Iloilo, Dongor was flown to the US Monday evening, more than a month after he surrendered to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Western Visayas office on Nov. 2.

Dongor, 36, was accompanied by NBI investigating agent Arnold Diaz and will be turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to face various charges including unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

Dongor agreed to the interview on condition that the news report would be released after he had left the country.

The priest admitted taking around $250 from St. Joseph’s Parish of the diocese of Worcester in Massachusetts where he was assigned as associate pastor. He also admitted visiting online pornographic sites with pictures of minors but has denied downloading them in his laptop computer.

“I am ready to go to jail if that will be the consequence of my actions. I leave myself to God now,” he said.

Dongor became a US fugitive after he fled to the Philippines on Oct. 1, 2011, leaving through the JFK airport in New York City. He was arraigned on Sept. 12, 2011, at the Fitchburg District Court on possession of child pornography and larceny of more than $250.

In a letter sent to Catholic Bishops of the Conference of the Philippines on Oct. 13, 2011, Worcester Bishop Robert McManus said Dongor was stripped of his positions and was disallowed from wearing clerical attire and functioning as a priest.

McManus said in his letter that their actions were based on the position of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith that the “acquisition, possession and distribution of child pornography is a canonical delict (offense) that pertains to the sexual abuse of a minor.”

Dongor, who had a key to the office of the parish, said he took small amounts from their funds, which he said he sent home to his family for a family emergency. He had intended to replace the money with his monthly stipend but he was caught in footages of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera installed in the office.

The pornographic photographs of minors were subsequently discovered in laptop computers used by Dongor, which were turned over to authorities investigating the larceny charges.

Dongor said he visited the pornographic sites “out of curiosity.”

“Human as I am, I was weak and I was not able to resist the temptation. But still, this is not an excuse. I know that the scandal that I have done affected the lives of many people who…loved me, believed in me and supported me. With this, I am so sorry,” he said in a statement.

He also pleaded that his family be spared from the controversy.

Dongor said he has undergone counseling after he was charged with the offenses. He added that he would be willing to undergo further treatment and counseling especially on his sexual interest in minors.

“I just want to be given a chance. I want peace of mind and to start a new life,” Dongor said.

Investigating agent Arnold Diaz of the NBI said Dongor agreed to surrender after negotiations mediated by a priest.

Lawyer Elfren Meneses, NBI regional director, said Dongor has not violated Philippine laws but was turned over to the US based on an FBI request to locate the priest.

Dongor said he fled to the Philippines because he was confused and felt abandoned when his parishioners and Filipino friends distanced themselves.

“I had no one to run to. But I understand them because I betrayed their trust,” he said.

After arriving in the Philippines, Dongor said he stayed in Manila and his hometown in Barotac Nuevo where he eventually told his family about his situation. He then went back to Manila where he worked as a call center agent until he surrendered.

Dongor left for the US in 2003 on a scholarship of the Augustinians of the Assumption. He later pursued priesthood at the Saint Mary Seminary and University in Baltimore.

He was ordained on June 26, 2010, the first Filipino priest in Worchester.

“I know that I cannot be a priest anymore. But I hope I can serve God in other ways,” he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Child Pornography , Crime and Law and Justice , crimes committed by priests , Federal Bureau of Investigation , Global Nation , Lowe Dongor , National Bureau of Investigation , Philippines , priests , United States

  • foreignerph

    I pity the guy. He stole 250$? When the American bankers stole billions in the period leading up to 2008, they were bailed out with a fat separation bonus and they still live happily forever. If he was really a pervert, he would have cleaned those laptops after satisfying his “curiosity”. He was just dumb.

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Napoles tags over 100 officials in pork scam – Lacson
  • Vitangcol to sue Czech envoy
  • Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  • 43 out of 414 Etihad passengers yet to be found, tested for MERS-CoV – Palace
  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • Sports

  • Caguioa blasts ‘no heart, soft’ Ginebra on Twitter
  • San Mig Coffee grinds out win over Alaska to force decider
  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Marketplace