Until judge's action, Fr. Ysrael Bien was not listed as official suspect in spy camera case
Fr. Ysrael Bien
Ed Langlois Of the Catholic Sentinel
— Police now say Father Ysrael Bien, on administrative leave from his
role as pastor of St. Francis Parish in Sherwood, purchased a spy camera
later found in a church bathroom.
Records uncovered by the Oregonian newspaper show the 34-year-old
priest logged onto a spy gear website in March to buy the $295 camera,
which was disguised as an electrical outlet. A Washington County judge
on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for Father Bien on charges of
invasion of privacy, tampering with evidence and initiating a false
report — all misdemeanors.
“It is gravely troubling to find out that one of our priests has been
charged with criminal misconduct, but we appreciate the diligence of
the Sherwood Police Department in pursuing its investigation of the
incident,” says Archbishop Alexander Sample. “We will continue to
cooperate with authorities in the resolution of this matter. Our prayers
are with parishioners of Saint Francis Church, Sherwood, and all who
have been affected.”
Meanwhile, Father Bien has left the country to visit family in The Philippines.
Archdiocese of Portland officials did not know Father Bien was
departing until after the fact. Archbishop Alexander Sample has sent
emails to Father Bien, asking him to return. Father Bien answered an
initial email saying that it seems best for him now to be with family.
Father Bien so far has not responded to a second request from the
Before the warrant issued Tuesday, Sherwood Police never listed
Father Bien as an official suspect and did not seize his passport.
David Renshaw, communications director for the archdiocese, says that
after the camera was found, the archdiocese followed all child
protection protocol. The archdiocese also operated with the guidance of
Sherwood Police regarding progress in the case and Father Bien’s status.
“When we discovered something we let people know,” Renshaw said.
A teen boy discovered the camera last spring and brought it to the
priest. The camera disappeared and Father Bien never went to the police,
though he promised the boy and his family he would. The family later
notified police about the situation.