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U.S. priest charged with sexually abusing 10 boys in Philippines

An American Catholic priest has been charged with soliciting sex with underage boys while in the Philippines, according to federal prosecutors. 

Rev. Kenneth Bernard Hendricks, 77, of Cincinnati, is charged with engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of Ohio. Hendricks was arrested Dec. 5 in the Philippines, where he was serving as a missionary priest. 

At least 10 alleged victims have been identified, according to NBC News. Hendricks is being held in a Manila jail. 

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati said in a statement following Hendricks’ arrest that the priest was ordained while overseas and has never been a priest under the archdiocese’s purview.

“Although not a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Fr. Hendricks is listed on our website as a Catholic missionary serving in Asia,” the statement from the Archdiocese said. “He is one of around 75 missionaries from Southwest Ohio who receive some financial support from the Mission Office of the Archdiocese. None of these individuals work for, or take direction from, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.”

Archdiocese officials said they are cooperating fully with the Department of Justice and Homeland Security investigators. They urged anyone with information about the rogue priest to call Homeland Security at 513-246-1461.

“The abuse of children or any vulnerable person is abhorrent and needs to be prosecuted,” the statement said.

Hendricks came under suspicion Nov. 13, when Homeland Security officials received information regarding the sexual exploitation of several minor Filipino boys, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Benjamin C. Glassman. The information alleged that a Catholic priest, later identified as Hendricks, had been sexually assaulting the boys, several of whom had been identified and were cooperating with police in the Philippines. 

According to the boys, the abuse included anal and oral sex, as well as mutual masturbation, the news release said. The alleged abuse occurred dozens of times and involved boys as young as 7 years old. 

“Hendricks allegedly had a number of minor boys residing with him,” the news release said. “It is alleged he insisted they take baths together and would molest the victims alone or with other boys. The priest allegedly warned the victims that if they told anyone they would all go to prison.”

>> Read more trending news

Glassman said one conversation between Hendricks and a victim was recorded. 

“This will probably be the scenario is, there will be a meeting and then it will be decided, you know, what your parents want to do about anything,” Hendricks said in the recording. “Do they want to try … want to press charges, uh, whatever see, but that’s between them and the Bishop. I have nothing to do with that. I just get the fallout afterwards.”

He further said in the conversation that the boy’s parents would ask him if he wanted a case to move forward of if he preferred a settlement. 

“But as far as after that, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I really will have to probably really resign, retire now,” Hendricks said, according to the news release

Read the affidavit in support of charges against Cincinnati priest Kenneth Hendricks below. Warning: Details of the allegations against the 77-year-old are graphic.

The criminal complaint has been sealed by a federal judge, but a redacted affidavit in support of the complaint provides further detail of the allegations against Hendricks, who was the parish priest in Naval, the capital of the province of Biliran. 

The affidavit, which often grows graphic with details of repeated sexual assaults, states that two of Hendricks’ alleged victims gave sworn statements Nov. 6 to the Philippine National Police. One young man said the abuse began in 2009, when he was 12 and serving as a sacristan at the church. 

The victim, who is now 22, said the abuse began when Hendricks kissed him on the lips one day as he cleaned the church. He said he also witnessed Hendricks inappropriately touching other young boys who lived with the priest. 

The man, who said he felt he had no choice, ended up moving in with the priest, who financed his education and helped his family. All the while, Hendricks was secretly molesting him, both alone and with other boys, the affidavit says. 

Hendricks often insisted the boy take a bath with him, the document reads. 

The young man told investigators that, at 15, he contracted a sexually transmitted disease from Hendricks. After being treated for it, he refused to have any additional sexual contact with the priest, the affidavit says. 

The affidavit goes over statements made by multiple other victims, whose names are redacted. It also reveals that the recorded conversation mentioned in Glassman’s news release was between Hendricks and the man whose abuse began in 2009.

The recording was made in November, once the allegations against Hendricks were taken to law enforcement.  

During that conversation, Hendricks admitted sexually abusing several boys, the affidavit says. At one point, he tells his alleged victim that “happy days are gone, it’s all over.”

“But the kids, but the kids Father is telling the truth? They are telling everything about you, Father?” the man says. 

“Well, that’s, it’s true. I’m not saying it’s not. Did I say it’s not? It happened,” Hendricks says. 

The alleged victim again asks Hendricks if he admits to having sex with boys.

“It’s already blottered, you put it on a blotter,” Hendricks responds. “Will I lie? It was a mistake on my part. Should have known better than trying to just have a life.

“That’s why you make mistakes. You have to learn from them, so I have to learn.”

NBC News reported that, along with the U.S. charges, Hendricks is also being charged by authorities in the Philippines.

“Our reach in this case is global,” Glassman told the news network. “If someone commits a crime with any connection to the Southern District of Ohio, we can work with other agents for a global reach.”

Hendricks faces 30 years in prison if convicted of the U.S. charges. 

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle live waxworks seen around Berlin

The newest wax versions of Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, are odd, to say the least. And for some they could be downright scary.

Live wax figures of the duke and duchess made their debut at the Berlin Madame Tussauds Tuesday a few days after they were seen shopping in Christmas markets, The Evening Standard reported.

The masks are actually made of silicon, despite being called live wax figures, the “Today” show reported.

This isn’t the first time similar masks made by Madame Tussauds were seen. The masks were worn at “Britain’s Got Talent” live final and were seen as the actors walked around London to celebrate the royal couple earlier this year.

>> Read more trending news 

For the holidays, the royal wax couple have been dressed in Christmas sweaters and a baby bump has been added for Meghan, The Evening Standard reported

>>Photos: Prince Harry, Meghan Markle live waxworks go on display

If the masked versions of the Harry and Meghan are too much for you, the iconic wax museum has more traditional versions of the royal couple. 

What a waste: Chocolate tank spills, coating street in candy

It seems like a storyline for a sequel to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” but a tank holding chocolate somehow spilled, sending the brown liquid into a nearby street, bringing a town in Germany to a stop.

It was described as a “small technical defect,” The Guardian reported.

It happened in the small town of Werl Monday night, Reuters reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Once the chocolate hit the road, it became solid. It was so hard that more than two dozen firefighters had to use shovels, hot water and blowtorches to clean up the chocolate that coated 108 square feet of the road. 

Eventually a cleaning specialist came to scoop up the chocolate, Reuters reported.

For those who may be worried that chocolate may not be under the tree, fire department officials said not to fret.

“Despite this heartbreaking incident, it is unlikely that a chocolate-free Christmas is imminent,” officials told the BBC.

DreiMeister officials, the company that made the chocolate, expected to have the plant up and running in full Wednesday, the BBC reported.

Bodies of hikers found 30 years after going missing in Himalayas

Two Icelandic mountain climbers missing for 30 years in the Himalayan mountains are now home after an American hiker found their remains last month. 

Kristinn Rúnarsson and Thorsteinn Gudjonsson, both 27, were last seen alive Oct. 18, 1988, at a height of 21,650 feet on Pumori, a mountain about 5 miles from Mount Everest on the Nepal-Tibet border. Rúnarsson’s father, Rúnar Guðbjartsson, told the Iceland Monitor last month that the discovery of his son’s body brings the family some closure. 

“When people were hugging me and giving their condolences I said, ‘Congratulate me instead, he’s been found,’” Guðbjartsson told the newspaper

>> Read more trending news

Guðbjartsson described his son and Gudjonsson as childhood friends who lived for mountain climbing. They had climbed South America’s highest peak, as well as several North American mountains, before heading to Nepal to tackle Pumori. 

The long-grieving father remembers the day his oldest son flagged him down as he drove by and told him word had come that the pair was lost on the mountain. 

“It's impossible to describe. It was so painful,” Guðbjartsson told the Monitor

Rúnarsson’s girlfriend was pregnant when he vanished.

“Five months after he was declared deceased, we sort of got him back; he's the spitting image of his father," Guðbjartsson said of his grandson, Kristinn Steinar.

Steve Aisthorpe, a Scottish climber who was part of Rúnarsson and Gudjonsson’s expedition, searched for his friends for weeks before abandoning hope of finding them alive. 

Aisthorpe, now a 55-year-old mission development worker for the Church of Scotland, said in a story on the church’s website that the positioning of ropes where the bodies were found suggests his friends either had reached or had almost reached the ridge atop Pumori’s face when they fell into a crevasse. Pumori is one of the more challenging of Mount Everest’s neighboring peaks in the Himalayan range. 

The pair ventured up the mountain alone when, 12 days into their expedition, Aisthorpe and a fourth member of their crew, Jon Geirsson, both fell ill, Aisthorpe said. Geirsson cancelled the remainder of his trip and went home, while Aisthorpe descended to a nearby village to see a doctor. 

He sent a message back to the expedition’s base camp, set up on the upper Changri Shar glacier, telling Rúnarsson and Gudjonsson to “feel free” while he recovered to make an attempt to summit the mountain without him. 

He never saw them alive again. 

“I’ve never felt as alone as the day I arrived back at our high camp,” Aisthorpe recalled

He said he climbed back up to the camp, hoping desperately to find his friends safe there. When he called out to them, his voice was met only by echoes as it bounced on the ice and rocks. 

“Even as I finally reached and then unzipped the tent, I still nurtured a hope that the boys would be lying there, comatose, sleeping off the climb of their lives,” Aisthorpe said. “But it was empty and I scanned our route up the steep face above, but nothing moved. 

“It was then that my guts started to twist and a cold sweat began.”

Aisthorpe called for help, which consisted in part of a helicopter search launched five days after Rúnarsson and Gudjonsson were last seen. He said helicopters in Nepal were few in 1988 and they could not conduct the types of searches that take place in the Himalayas today. 

“Looking down into the deep crevasse that guarded the base of the west face, I expected to see a flash of red or yellow Goretex but there was nothing,” Aisthorpe said. “A couple of weeks later, I left the area, convinced that Kristinn and Torsteinn must have fallen somewhere high on the face and their remains swallowed by the cavernous crevasse below.

“This was what I explained to their families and friends on a visit to Reykjavík shortly after my return from Nepal.”

The Monitor reported that at least one person who saw the pair on Pumori saw them reach the summit before they disappeared. Guðbjartsson told the newspaper that his son told him, in his last postcard, that he could see the peak of the mountain. 

Guðbjartsson said last month that he was unsure if the bodies would be able to be recovered, but that it didn’t matter. His grandson, Steinar, agreed. 

“He told me that Kristinn and Thorsteinn had told people that if something happened to them, the mountain could keep them,” Guðbjartsson told the Monitor. “They didn’t want to put people in danger to save them. The mountain would take what it was going to take.”

Conditions on the mountain have since allowed the pair’s bodies to be recovered. According to Aisthorpe, a group of local climbers brought their remains to Kathmandu, where they were cremated. 

Relatives were able to bring their ashes home to Iceland. 

Aisthorpe said the discovery of his long-ago friends’ bodies has brought many emotions to the surface. He said he hopes that, with time, it will also bring those who loved them peace. 

“My diary of the expedition reminds me of how, as someone who had only recently embraced the Christian faith, I found comfort and guidance as I turned to God in prayer,” Aisthorpe said. “In the midst of the desperate tasks of searching and then leaving the mountain alone, the words of a Psalm were a personal reality -- ‘God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.’

“I plan to go to Reykjavík in Iceland to meet their families soon and pay my respects.”

Meghan Markle shows off baby bump, stuns crowd at British Fashion Awards

The British Fashion Awards got the royal treatment Monday when the Duchess of Sussex, formerly known as Megan Markle, made a surprise appearance.

>> Meghan Markle, Prince Harry to move out of Kensington Palace

Markle, who married Britain's Prince Harry in May and announced her pregnancy in October, wore a black Givenchy gown to the ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall in London, "Today" reported.

>> PHOTOS: Meghan Markle through the years

Markle presented Givenchy artistic director Clare Waight Keller, who designed Markle's wedding dress, with the British Designer of the Year Womenswear Award, ABC News reported.

"As all of you in this room know, we have a deep connection to what we wear, sometimes it's very personal and sometimes it's emotional," Markle said. "But for me this connection is rooted in really being able to understand that it's about supporting and empowering each other, especially as women."

>> Read more trending news 

A stunned Waight Keller embraced Markle and thanked her.

"I've gotten to know Meghan on such a personal level, and you know, to have someone like that trust you in an incredible moment in their life is something that is just the most unbelievable honor," she said.

Read more here or here.

Rupert Grint is wealthy, but said he has no idea of net worth

There is no need for Ron Weasley to panic now -- at least not financially.

>> Read more trending news 

Rupert Grint, who played the nervous redhead in the “Harry Potter” movie series, admitted in an interview he did not know how much money he has in the bank, the Daily Mail reported.

However, Grint, 30, is worth more than $35 million and said he is content knowing he can live a “comfortable” life without checking his financial statements, the newspaper reported.

Grint made his comments during an interview with the Radio Times,  saying that “I actually don't know how much I have. I couldn't even really guess.”

Grint, one of the three main characters in the “Harry Potter” wizard movies adapted from J.K. Rowling’s books, vaulted to fame with Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson when the 2001 movie, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” was released.

Having that much money “doesn’t motivate me too much,” Grint told the Radio Times. “'I'm glad it's there but I'm not really that focused on it.”

Radcliffe has an estimated net worth of more than $109 million and Watson has a net worth of more than $71 million, the Daily Mail reported.

Catherine Zeta-Jones celebrates Kirk Douglas' 102nd birthday with moving tribute

Iconic actor Kirk Douglas celebrated his 102nd birthday Sunday, and daughter-in-law Catherine Zeta-Jones paid homage with a moving tribute, ETonline reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Jones, who is married to Douglas’ son, Michael Douglas, posted a black-and-white video on Instagram that showed the 49-year-old actress’ daughter, Carys Zeta Douglas, playing the piano as a young child (she is now 15) and singing Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” ETonline reported. The video included black-and-white photos and videos of Douglas, highlighting his life, People reported.

"Happy 102nd birthday to the most beautiful man. We love you Kirk," Zeta-Jones wrote on Instagram.

Carys also posted on Instagram, posting a photo of her grandfather and writing that “I can’t put into words how much you mean to me.”

Another grandchild, Dylan Douglas, posted a photo on Instagram of Douglas in a boxing pose and wrote, “Happy birthday Pappy 102 years!!! Though you are adored by millions, my love for you is by far the greatest. Love you forever and always,” he wrote.

Roger the ripped kangaroo dies at 12 

Roger the ripped kangaroo, a kickboxing marsupial who sprang into the public consciousness when a 2015 photo of him crushing a metal bucket went viral, has died, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported. He was 12. 

>> Read more trending news 

The kangaroo died of natural causes at The Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs, Australia.

"We have lost our beautiful boy," Chris Barns, the owner of the wildlife sanctuary, said in a statement. "He lived a lovely long life and was loved by millions around the world."

Roger stood 6-foot-7 and weighed nearly 200 pounds.

He was rescued as a 5-month-old joey in 2007 after his mother was killed in a car accident, the BBC reported. Barns removed Roger from his mother’s pouch.

"I rescued him out of his dead mother, 25 kilometers north of Alice Springs, when I was out patrolling the roads checking roadkill," Barns told ABC. "I used to call him Roger Rabbit because he looked like Roger Rabbit with these big ears that flopped over the top. And then that just became Roger as he got older.”

Roger became an internet sensation when images of him crushing a metal bucket between his paws like it was a piece of paper went viral, the BBC reported.

"Roger was as muscular as they come," Barns told the network. "Ever since he was featured on TV and clips went viral, there's been a lot of love and attention for him.”

Roger was buried at The Kangaroo Sanctuary, ABC reported.

Tear gas fired as 'yellow vest' demonstrators march through Paris

Police fired tear gas Saturday as more than 1,500 “yellow vest” protesters gathered in Paris to oppose fuel tax increases, the BBC reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Nearly, 8,000 police officers and 12 armored vehicles were prowling central Paris to counter the anti-government protesters, the BBC reported.

Many streets in central Paris were closed to traffic, while major tourist attractions such as the Louvre, the Centre Pompidou and the Musee d’Orsay were closed, Reuters reported. 

At least 211 people have been detained in Paris. 

Nationwide, approximately 89,000 police have been deployed, Reuters reported. Officials in Paris are hoping to avoid last week’s violence, when rioters burned cars and looted stores along the Champs-Elysees. Protesters also defaced the Arc de Triomphe, Reuters reported. 

Hundreds were arrested and dozens were arrested last week, the BBC reported.

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