Priest in suspected Vanc. child stalking still in CA

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by KGW Staff

KING5.com

Posted on April 15, 2014 at 10:30 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 15 at 10:30 AM

A Vancouver teen did not panic and ran into a day care to call her mother as a stranger stalked and beckoned her last week, according to court documents.

The suspect in the case, Father Michael Patrick of St. Wenceslaus Church in Scappoose, remained in a Los Angeles jail Tuesday awaiting extradition to Washington.

The girl was walking down the street March 10 near a strip mall when a man drove up beside her. Several times, the man asked her to get in and each time, she refused.

She walked faster, turning onto Northeast 132nd Avenue. The man continued to stalk her, at one point telling her, "Come on, cutie." That's when she walked into a day care to call her mom.

The girl was able to provide a license number and later identify a suspect tied to the vehicle. A warrant was issued for Patrick.

The priest was arrested as he walked off a plane at Los Angeles International Airport. He had returned from a trip to Australia.

Nearby residents praised the girl’s courage and judgment.

“I’m glad she did the right thing and did what she should have done,” said Ashley Lanham.

The archdiocese issued a statement that said Father Patrick has been removed from pastoral duties. Church authorities were cooperating with investigators, spokesman Bud Bunce said in the statement.

"Ultimately, we must trust in the justice system," Bunce said. "We ask all to join us in prayer for justice."

The Catholic Sentinel reported that Father Patrick has served in the archdiocese since 1998. Police searched a residence he kept in Vancouver as part of the investigation, the newspaper reported.

Father Patrick also has served at St. Alexander in Cornelius, St. Patrick in Portland, St. Edward in Keizer, St. Philip Benizi in Redland and Holy Trinity in Bandon, the Sentinel reported.

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