A Filipino Catholic priest was arrested in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Monday for raping a minor about five years ago.
Armand Garcia, who turned himself to authorities, reportedly recorded the sex act with the teenage girl, reports NBC Philadelphia.
According to Garcia’s lawyer William Brennan, the 49-year-old clergy was charged with rape, photograph/film/depict on the computer sex act and corruption of minors.
Based on the court documents, the alleged rape happened from 2014 to 2017, when he was still a pastor in the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the Roxborough neighborhood.
The alleged victim, believed to be a teenage altar girl older than 16 years old, accused the priest after he was transferred to a new parish in 2017.
Garcia was reportedly living in Saint Martin of Tours in the Oxford Circle neighborhood in Philadelphia when the allegation surfaced.
He also served as a regional representative for the National Association of Filipino Priests. After being notified by authorities about the investigation in March 2018, the Archdiocese Of Philadelphia immediately placed Garcia on administrative leave.
“The Archdiocese had no previous knowledge of the allegation and it was the first of its kind lodged against Father Garcia,” the Archdiocese said in a statement.
Garcia was also removed from his residence at Saint Martin of Tours Parish and banned from presenting himself as a priest.
While the local archdiocese knew of the allegations since last year, parents of children who attend Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Philadelphia only learned about it on Tuesday, CBS Philly reports.
Garcia, whose preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 14, was released on Monday night after posting 10% of his $250,000 bond.