Police are searching for Rev. Ysrael Bien, 34, after a 15-year-old boy reportedly found a hidden camera at St. Francis Catholic Church on April 26 in Sherwood, Oregon. Bien, however, has apparently left for The Philippines, where he has family (video below).
The camera, which was hidden in a wall socket, was discovered in late April. Police claim they have records that prove Bien bought the device and had it shipped to his home, The Oregonian reported. Now, Bien’s now facing charges invasion of privacy, tampering with evidence and initiating a false police report, all of which are misdemeanors.
Investigators believe Bien left the United States on June 30, six days after he was suspend from his leadership duties at St. Francis Catholic Church. The suspension reportedly was related to the allegations regarding the hidden camera. The archdiocese said church leaders were unaware that he was a person of interest in the case and that they couldn’t have stopped him from traveling.
"The church has no ability to confiscate a priest's passport," spokesman David Renshaw said. “We are not a law enforcement agency and do not have the authority to take such a document."
An archbishop, however, wrote to Bien asking him to return on Aug. 6, but Bien refused.
According to a spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Portland, church leaders discovered Bien left for The Philippines on July 30. A warrant for his arrest was issued on Aug. 18 by the Washington County Circuit Court.
"Unfortunately, we had no idea that he had left," Capt. Ty Hanlon told The Oregonian. "Not until yesterday did we learn that he was out of the country.”
It’s unclear if Bien could be extradited.