FBI: Accused Ohio priest may have long history of sex misconduct

Two people have made complaints against the priest, but investigators believe there are more victims, said Eric Smith, an FBI agent in charge of the investigation.

Posted: Aug 19, 2020 12:23 PM

FINDLAY, Ohio (AP) — FBI agents arrested a Roman Catholic priest Tuesday on child sex trafficking charges, saying they think the priest has been engaged in sexual conduct with minors since the late 1990s.

The Rev. Michael Zacharias, 53, was taken into custody after morning mass at St. Michael Parish in Findlay.

He also was charged with coercion, enticement and sex trafficking of an adult.

Court records don’t say whether he has an attorney.

Two people have made complaints against Zacharias, but investigators believe there are more victims, said Eric Smith, an FBI agent in charge of the investigation.

“This is obviously a sad day not only for the church family, for the community, but it also marks the beginning of healing for those victimized by Michael Zacharias,” Smith said.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo said Zacharias was ordained in 2002 but it did not release where he had been assigned in the past.

He has been placed on administrative leave.

The FBI said he previously worked at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Toledo, St. Peter Parish in Mansfield, St. Mary of the Assumption Parish in Van Wert and St. Ann and St. Joseph Parishes in Fremont.

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