A 49-year-old Fil-Am Catholic priest has been charged this week with raping a teenager girl in Philadelphia, and filming the attack.
Rev. Armand Garcia was arrested on Monday, March 4 after surrendering to Philadelphia police for the conduct allegedly occurring sometime between the years 2014 to 2017 while he served at the Immaculate Heart of Mary , according to a statement.
According to court filings, the count of rape came from an alleged incident in August 2014 when his accuser spoke out after Garcia was transferred to another parish.
Garcia faces charges of rape, corruption of a minor, and sexual abuse of a minor.
“These charges are serious and disturbing,” said the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in its statement.
“The Archdiocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement regarding this matter and remains fervently committed to preventing child abuse as well as protecting the children and young people entrusted to its care,” it added.
Following the allegations, the archdiocese placed Garcia on leave and prohibited himself from publicly presenting himself as a priest or exercising his public ministry.
The statement said that at the time Garcia was placed on administrative, Garcia “possessed clear criminal background checks as well as child abuse clearances and had successfully completed safe environment training courses.”
“Father 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 statement.
In a statement on Tuesday, March 5, Kenneth Gavin, spokesman of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said that Garcia passed a background check and attended child protection programs that were required of all priests.
Garcia, who served as a regional representative for the National Association of Filipino Priests, has been removed from the association’s website and from other parish sites.
According to the archdiocese, Garcia was ordained in 2005. Since then, he has served at Saint Joseph, Downingtown (2005-2008); Saint Eleanor, Collegeville (2008-2009); Saint Katherine of Siena, Philadelphia (2009-2010); personal leave (2010-2011); Our Lady of the Assumption, Strafford (2011); Immaculate Heart of Mary, Philadelphia (2011-2017); Saint Martin of Tours, Philadelphia (2017-2018).
Following his arrest, Garcia was released on $250,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is slated to be heard on March 14. (Rae Ann Varona/AJPress)