Pastor Tom Randall returns home after being freed from Philippine jail

by Tim Troglen | reporter Published:

Hudson -- Christ Community Chapel is asking for media patience as Tom Randall, a church pastor recently freed from a Filipino jail "acclimate(s) to being back home."

Randall was released from jail Feb. 3 after being held for 22 days on a charge of negligence stemming from an investigation into human trafficking at the Sankey Samaritan Orphanage, which he founded. The charge has been dropped. Two workers are still being held in the Philippines on unspecified charges from the same investigation.

"As you can imagine, this has been a very challenging time for Tom and his family and they will take some time to acclimate to being back home," according to Tim Schofield, a pastor at the Hudson campus of Christ Community Chapel, 750 W. Streetsboro St. "At this time, Pastor Joe [Coffey] or Tom will not be conducting any on-camera or phone interviews. If you have specific questions you'd like us to pass on to Tom at this time, we are happy to do so. As time and situation permit, we will release Tom's responses via email or press release."

Randall and his wife, Karen, were both in the Philippines on a missionary trip to help with Typhoon Haiyan relief. The Randalls returned to their Stow home Feb. 5, according to Joe Coffey, lead pastor of Christ Community Church, 750 W. Streetsboro St. Coffey confirmed the couple's arrival on his @JoeCoffeyTalk Twitter account.

"Tom and Karen Randall have arrived," Coffey Tweeted. "It's great to have them home."

Details of the release were not available.

Randall, a former pro basketball player in the Philippines and chaplain of the PGA Champions Tour, founded the Sankey Samaritan Orphanage and World Harvest Ministries, according to Coffey.

Randall "will remain employed with Christ Community Chapel as a pastor at large," according to a Feb. 3 news release from the church.

"We're encouraged and relieved that the investigation into this accusation returned no evidence of wrongdoing on Tom's part," Coffey said Feb. 3. "We remain concerned for the orphans without a home to return to in Lucena City and will do all we can to care for them."

About than 30 children from the orphanage were taken during the investigation, according to a post on the Free Tom Randall Facebook page, which is not affiliated or operated by the church.

"Many of the boys have been found," according to the post. "However, they don't know where the girls are. He, and others, are working to find them all, and to make sure they are safe, secure, and cared for."

The orphans were removed, detained and questioned, according to a Jan. 23 church press release. Some orphans were released, but the orphanage had already been closed by government officials.

"Our fervent hope is for the safety and care of the children removed from Sankey Samaritan," Coffey said Jan. 23.

Randall, of Stow, is a former pro basketball player in the Philippines and chaplain of the PGA Champions Tour. Randall founded the Sankey Samaritan Orphanage and World Harvest Ministries and has been a missionary to the Philippines for more than 20 years.

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9435

Facebook: TimTroglenRPC

Twitter: @Trog_RPC

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