HUDSON, Ohio -- A local pastor remains jailed in the Philippines while authorities there sort through accusations that an orphanage he helped build was involved in sex trafficking.
Tom Randall was recently hired as a 'pastor at large' for the Christ Community Chapel in Hudson, but the church's Senior Pastor Rev. Joe Coffey said he has known and supported Randall for nearly 20 years.
"We've been associated with Tom for a long time, probably 17 years, taking trips with him to the Philippines. He was a missionary to the Philippines and then he was the chaplain of the PGA senior tour for the past 15 years," said Coffey. "I hired him mostly to just be a pastor at large in the community because he's just the most remarkable guy I have ever been around."
Coffey said Randall went to the Philippines on a mission to help with typhoon relief and to spend time with the kids at his orphanages, something he does for one month each year supported by local churches and his ministry called World Harvest.
"World Harvest pays for everything he needs for the kids including their education, and I know he has put several kids through college, and at least one kid who he's ministering to now went to med school," said Coffey.
But Coffey said Randall also found himself in the middle of an accusation involving one of the men who run his orphanages who was accused of kissing one of the girls.
"He went over to the Philippines to investigate it. They got child services involved," said Coffey.
"The NBI, which is their version of the FBI, also got involved. They interviewed all the kids. They interviewed all the workers. They found that the girls ended up recanting their story, said they made it up about the person who runs the orphanage because he had taken privileges away from them," said Coffey.
Rev. Coffey says the matter was dropped and everyone felt it was over, but it was followed by accusations of a sex trafficking operation being run out of the orphanage. Accusations that Coffey says came from the same source.
"The Philippines is very vigilant about sex trafficking, which we want them to be," said Coffey. "They pretty much take action and ask questions later, and he was swept up into that and while that is being resolved in the Philippines, you stay in prison until your case is heard or they feel like there is insignificant evidence for it, and that's what we are praying and waiting for and until then you stay in prison."
Randall was expected to have a hearing on Friday during which supporters hoped charges against him would be dropped, but the hearing has been postponed.
In the meantime, a Facebook page called "Free Tom Randall" was growing rapidly with supporters while Coffey and others have been reaching out for diplomatic help.
"To know Tom Randall, I mean we have sent literally hundreds of our people on mission trips over there. I mean we built that orphanage for him, we have seen him interact with the kids we have seen Mr. Luchavez' interact with the kids -- there is no possibility that it is a sex trafficking thing, I mean that is beyond the pale," said Coffey.