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Hudson -- A pastor at Christ Community Chapel, 750 W. Streetsboro St. is being held in the Philippines on charges connected to a human trafficking case.
Tom Randall, who was hired in September as pastor at large, was arrested on undetermined charges Jan. 12 while in Manila doing missionary work, according to the Rev. Joe Coffey, lead pastor at the Hudson campus of Christ Community Chapel.
Randall, of Stow, has been a missionary to the Philippines for about 20 years, according to Coffey. Randall, along with two Filipino nationals, are being held in connection with a human trafficking case.
"He went over to the Philippines to do relief work for the typhoon and visit his orphanage," Coffey said Jan. 16. "While he was at the orphanage, there were some allegations of misconduct [against him and] a couple of his workers."
Coffey said he was told the allegations were investigated and "no problems" were found. However, a complaint was recently filed with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and Homeland Security and Randall was arrested, according to Coffey.
According to a report from Inquirer.net, a Filipino national news website, Randall was arrested for allegedly "abusing children." The report states Toto Luchavez and Jake Luchavez were also arrested for alleged human trafficking.
"He is being held right now in Manila in a prison at NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] headquarters," according to Coffey. "His hearing tomorrow [Jan. 17] is to see if they will drop the charges."
Ohio Senator Rob Portman's office was made aware of the situation by members of Coffey's congregation.
"Senator Portman's staff reached out to and spoke directly with Ambassador Cuisia, the Filipino Ambassador in Washington, regarding Tom Randall," Michael Haidet, Portman's deputy press secretary said Jan. 16. "Our office is continuing to work all diplomatic channels to investigate this situation."
Haidet said Portman is concerned about Randall's "declining health."
"When our staff spoke with the Ambassador in Washington, he pledged to look into the situation, and we will continue to press for more information from his staff and our Embassy in Manila," Haidet added. "We do not know all of the details of the situation, but are proceeding with the information that has been presented to us as we further investigate Mr. Randall's detainment."
Filipino officials could not be reached for comment.
Coffey explained the circumstances of Randall's arrest in his blog Jan. 14.
"He went to the Philippines a month ago to spend time with the children of his orphanage and take some men from the States on a basketball trip they will be talking about for the rest of their lives," Coffey wrote. "Tom has been arrested and at this moment sits in prison … Please join me in praying for my friend, Tom Randall."
Church members started a "Free Tom Randall" Facebook page which has more than 12,800 likes since its Jan. 14 creation.
Randall has some access to his cell phone and has been in contact with Coffey.
"He has been a dear friend of mine for years and our people love him," Coffey said. "He is the most remarkable guy I've ever been around."
The church is continuing to pray for Randall and his wife, Karen.
"We are just praying that the truth would come out and justice would be done," Coffey said. "And we are going to use this, as a church, to pray for people who are in prisons falsely all over the world."
After 22 days in a Philippine jail, Tom Randall has been released. He has been cleared of all charges. Please be so kind as to continue to cover this case with this updated information. This good man's name has been dragged through the mud, and it is now time to restore his good reputation.
I am surprised that the Hudson Hub times has not mention the story reported by the Akron Beakon Journal that two children escaped from the orphange at great peril to their lives and reported what was going on there. Just because he is a minister does not make him innocent. How many residents of Hudson have had their children at the churchs summer camp. I would be worried about the safty of our kids. I would also encourage all in the church to pray for the children and other victims of human trafficking. I hope they are right and Revern Randall is innocent.
I guess, from what harmony just said - The victims should be thankful and appreciate all the help, love and things that are given to them even if they are being abused, correct? They should shut up and not say anything even if they live in an abusive home. That's what Filipinos should be - appreciate all that is given to them because what is abuse anyway?! We should just suck it up and bear all the abuse... Tom unfortunately was dragged into this mess... but can people think about the victims for a second?
Do you know how hard it must be for those victims to step forward?
It is just broke my heart to know that our missionary Tom Randall is in prison right now. My daughter and I been praying for his health and release out of that prison soon together with his friends. I beleived he has HUGE heart to serve the Lord and proved that he Loved Filipino people. As Filipino's we are so blessed. It's his joy helping people and I don't think it is right to punished him this way. If you put yourself on his situation do you think you can do what he was been doing for over 20 years as God's servant in the Philippines?? But because of God's Love and Mercy he always survived with his wife Karen. They don't deserved this kind of punishment, instead we as Filipino's should be grateful and be Thankful for these couple above all to God that He uses them to share & show HIS love to all in need Filipino's. They sacrificed for us both our kids and adults in the Philippines. How embarassing is that? What happened to our culture & Filipino heart of appreciation??? Somethings wrong....My faith is that God will continually use Tom Randall & Karen to share his WORD to our country.