St. Wenceslaus' Father Michael Patrick held in Los Angeles County Jail

by: SPOTLIGHT FILE PHOTO - Father Michael Patrick of St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Scappoose was arrested for allegedly attempting to lure a minor into his vehicle in Vancouver last month. Father Michael Patrick of St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in Scappoose was arrested Wednesday, April 2, for allegedly attempting to lure a minor into his vehicle March 10 in Vancouver, Wash.

Patrick was apparently on his way back from a trip to Australia, where a source said he was visiting friends and family from Sri Lanka, when he was arrested in Los Angeles International Airport by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies. Patrick is currently being held in Los Angeles County Jail with no bail.

Patrick, who as of this summer has served as an ordained Catholic priest for 30 years, allegedly attempted to lure a teenage girl into his vehicle in early March, then fled when she called 911. Patrick has a second residence in Vancouver apart from his Oregon home, according to the Vancouver Police Department.

“A female minor was walking and a male was following her in a car, persistently offering her a ride,” said Kim Kapp, a Vancouver Police Department spokeswoman. “She became frightened and called her parents, and called the police. We were able to locate the individual matching that description, but he was not detained at that time.”

Kapp said detectives followed up on the case and eventually conducted a search warrant at Patrick’s Vancouver residence March 25, while Patrick was away. Kapp declined to say what officers found in the apartment, but added the warrant, as well as information from the victim and others interviewed, gave the department probable cause to arrest him.

The investigation into Patrick is ongoing and Kapp said the department is unsure when he will be extradited to Washington for further investigation.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials said Patrick was arrested in the airport on a fugitive warrant out of Washington and that his next court date in Los Angeles County was set for April 18, but had no further information.

“This makes me sick,” said one member of the St. Wenceslaus parish, who asked to remain unnamed. “I think it’s repugnant, and I’m really glad that the girl is OK, and my thoughts are with her and with her family. I hope he serves time, and I hope he never, ever does this to another child.”

Patrick works through the Archdiocese of Portland as a priest at St. Wenceslaus. Bud Bunce, director of communications for the Archdiocese of Portland, said he was aware of Patrick’s arrest, but did not know of the charges related to luring a minor until notified by the Spotlight.

“I’m just learning about this currently,” he said. “We have people trying to get more information at this point. We have not been able to contact Father Patrick about this.”

Asked whether the archdiocese had dealt with similar issues in the past, Bunce replied, “We’ve dealt with other child abuse in the past. Those ran back as far as the 1930s.”

Bunce said Patrick will be suspended from his ministry function until the matter is concluded.

Bunce said the archdiocese screens all individuals before ordaining them as priests, but added Partick was not ordained in Portland.

In an August 2013 interview with the Spotlight, Patrick said he was ordained in 1983 in Sri Lanka, his birthplace. Since moving to Oregon in 1998, Patrick said he has worked at various Catholic churches, including St. Alexander in Cornelius, St. Patrick in Northwest Portland, St. Edward in Salem and Bandon Holy Trinity in Bend. He said at the time he had been living in Scappoose for about two years.

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