Oregon priest accused of lying about hidden camera in bathroom

A camera was found in the men's bathroom at St. Francis Catholic Church

SHERWOOD, Ore. (KOIN) — A local priest is on administrative leave after court documents alleged he lied about a hidden camera found in the bathroom of St. Francis Catholic Church.

In documents obtained by KOIN 6 News, Sherwood police said 34-year-old Father Ysrael Bien was either responsible for the camera, or helped the person who put it there.

“It’s still an active investigation,” Police Capt. Ty Hanlon said. “We’re still trying to develop information.”

In a search warrant, police said a teenager discovered the camera on the bathroom wall, disguised as an outlet. He immediately gave it to Fr. Bien, who told the boy he’d report the camera to police.

But the priest never reported the discovery, despite telling the boy’s parents he did.

Detectives at Sherwood Police Department said when Fr. Bien didn’t have a police report to show after 3 weeks, the boy’s dad met with him. The priest said he had put the camera in a drawer, but it was gone later that day. He then admitted lying about reporting the discovery.

The archdiocese of St. Francis sent a letter to church members explaining the situation and why Fr. Bien was placed on administrative leave.

“We’re not calling him a suspect at this point,” Capt. Hanlon said. “He was certainly a person of interest at the onset of that just because of those inconsistencies.”

In a warrant, the lead detective on the case said she believes Fr. Bien either committed, “some or all of the offenses, or helped another person do it.”

While they don’t have any hard evidence at the moment, police said they haven’t stopped searching.

“At anytime something could come in that would turn this for us,” Capt. Hanlon said.

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