The pastor of St. Wenceslaus Parish in Scappoose was detained April 8 in Los Angeles when he stepped off a plane from Australia. Authorites made the arrest based on a warrant issued in Vancouver, Wash.
Father Michael Patrick, who has served in the Archdiocese of Portland since 1998, is now in jail in Los Angeles.
Father Patrick has been charged with luring. Vancouver Police say the priest is suspected of driving his vehicle beside a teenage girl and persistently asking to give her a ride despite her refusals. The girl became frightened and ran to phone for help. Authorities identified Father Patrick as the suspect then searched a residence the priest keeps in Vancouver. Police will not yet discuss what they have found.
In a statement, the archdiocese says it had no prior knowledge of the pending charge, and is trying to get in contact with Father Patrick but so far have been unsuccessful.
"The Archdiocese will cooperate with law enforcement," the archdiocese says. "Father Patrick will be suspended from his ministry functions until the matter is concluded, even though the criminal charge had nothing to do with his parish assignment in Scappoose."
Church officials say they will continue to gather information on the matter.
"Ultimately, we must trust in the justice system. We ask all to join us in prayer for justice," the statement concluded.
Father Patrick studied at Our Lady of Lanka National Seminary, in Kandy, Sri Lanka. He was ordained in 1983 and served at parishes and the seminary in Sri Lanka. He also taught at the University of Jaffna there. In 1991, he studied canon law at St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada.
He came to Portland in 1998 to work in the marriage tribunal and assist at St. Alexander, Cornelius. He has served at St. Patrick, Portland, St. Edward, Keizer, St. Philip Benizi, Redland and Holy Trinity in Bandon. He was assigned to Scappoose in 2012.