Cass County District Court. Photo: Cass County, North Dakota
Cass County District Court. Photo: Cass County, North Dakota

A US court has set the bail for a Catholic priest charged 15 years ago with child sex abuse at US$5 million after finally getting him back from the Philippines, where he fled after the charges were filed.

Fernando Laude Sayasaya was extradited to the US on December 15 after he was arrested in the Philippines on November 19. He now faces charges that were filed in Cass County District Court in North Dakota in late 2002.

In December of that year, Sayasaya was charged with two counts of gross sexual imposition for sexually touching two boys under the age of 15. The offenses allegedly took place in his diocese in Fargo, North Dakota, between July 1995 and August 1998, Valley News reported.

Sayasaya was removed from his priestly duties in the Fargo Diocese in August 1998 after the two boys accused him of sexual assault. He went to the Philippines in December 1998 and failed to return to the US, the Grand Forks Herald reported.

A Philippine court ordered Sayasaya’s extradition in 2010. He filed an appeal but it failed.

Sayasaya is now being held in the Cass County Jail and his next court hearing is on January 18.