According to reports from Christ Community Chapel in Hudson and posts on the Free Tom Randall Facebook Page, Pastor Tom Randall was released from a Filipino jail Feb. 3 after 22 days behind bars.
Randall was arrested Jan. 12 by Filipino authorities during an investigation into reports of alleged human trafficking at an orphanage he founded.
In a January affidavit filed by Randall, he denied any allegations of wrongdoing.
“I treat these children not as wards of an orphanage but as my own children,” Randall wrote.
Joe Coffey, lead pastor of Christ Community Church, 750 W. Streetsboro St., confirmed Randall was released and posted on his @JoeCoffeyTalk Twitter account that Randall had been freed and all charges dropped.
Details of the release were not available at press time.
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, of Stow, has been a missionary to the Philippines for more than 20 years, according to Coffey.
“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 filed with the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines and Homeland Security and Randall was arrested, according to Coffey.
Randall will now work toward finding about 30 children from the orphanage which were taken during the investigation, according to a post on the Free Tom Randall Facebook page. The page, not affiliated or operated by the church, was started Jan. 14 and has just under 59,000 likes.
“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.
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