By Colette M. Jenkins
Beacon Journal religion writer
Supporters will have to wait to learn if the Rev. Tom Randall, a Hudson pastor, will be prosecuted in the Philippines on charges related to an allegation of human trafficking.
“No news yet on Tom. strong rumors dismissal coming but nothing today. pls keep praying. dont stop now --Pastor Joe.”
That was the message posted this morning on the Free Tom Randall Facebook page by the Rev. Joe Coffey, lead pastor at Christ Community Chapel, where Randall is on the pastoral staff.
Coffey said he learned from Randall’s wife, Karen, that there was no decision from a hearing scheduled Wednesday to determine if the prosecution of Randall would go forward. There is a 13-hour time difference between Northeast Ohio and the Philippines.
The Randalls left their home in Stow last month on a mission trip to the Philippines, where they have done mission work for decades. On Jan. 12, Tom Randall and two workers were arrested at the Sankey Samaritan Orphanage in Lucena City. The orphanage was founded by the Randalls through their nonprofit mission, World Harvest Ministries, in 1998.
According to Filipino media reports, Randall is accused of being negligent in handling allegations of abuse and sex trafficking at the orphanage. He reportedly is charged with obstruction of justice.
Orphanage manager Perfecto “Toto” Luchavez and his son, Mark “Jake” Luchavez, are charged with violating Filipino anti-human trafficking laws. The younger Luchavez also is charged with rape.
Media outlets in the Philippines reported that 31 orphans, including eight minors, were rescued from the orphanage and released to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
Meanwhile, support for Randall continues to grow on the Facebook page, which has netted nearly 24,000 “likes.” Members of Hudson-based Christ Community Chapel, which also has campuses in Aurora, Stow and Akron, created the page two days after Randall’s arrest.