A federal sex trafficking trial resulted in a guilty conviction on all five counts for Rev. Michael Jude Zacharias, a Roman Catholic priest who has served as the pastor of churches in Fremont and Mansfield. The jury’s verdict was made public just before 5 o’clock. Stacey Finley, the court’s media coordinator, stated that decisions were made on Friday after deliberations that began at midday the day before.
Zacharias, 56, was found guilty of sex trafficking on all five counts, two of which included young victims. The priest was the target of accusations that lasted over 15 years, from July 2005 to August 2020.
Priest Found Guilty in Sex-Trafficking Case was Placed on Administrative Leave in 2020
According to the article in Mansfield News Journal, the priest’s sentence date has yet to be made public. In the United States, the trial started on May 2 in District Court for Toledo’s Northern District of Ohio. The guilty conviction is a significant development in a case that has received a lot of attention both inside and outside the Catholic Church.
Toledo Bishop Daniel Thomas placed Rev. Michael Jude Zacharias on administrative leave in August 2020. Bishop Thomas issued a statement following the court’s ruling condemning the deeds for which Reverend Michael Zacharias was found guilty. According to Bishop Thomas, Zacharias’ acts were unjustifiable, morally unacceptable, and wholly incompatible with the respect that every person and the priesthood deserved. He declared that the Church has no tolerance for such behaviour and that any allegations of sexual misbehavior or abuse by a cleric are taken very seriously.
In the shared article in Yahoo! News, bishop Thomas continued to discuss the suffering that the victims have felt, the struggles of the church due to the actions of their members, and the efforts that must have been taken to protect the minors and aslo to uphold the dignity of all the priests. Despite all of this, he admitted that evil can sometimes win.
Also Read:Sexual Abuse of Clerics: Do Church Leaders Get Punish By Law?
Diocese of Toledo to Address Allegations against Priest Zakaria, Case to be Presented to the Pope
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo is getting ready to confront the accusations against Priest Zakaria following the conclusion of a federal case. According to the article in Business News, Zakaria’s standing as a priest will be decided by Pope Francis after Zakaria is accused of “grooming” victims and using his drug addiction to force them into sexual acts.
Even though he acknowledged having intercourse with several guys, Zakaria denied knowing that any of his partners had a drug issue or that he gave them money to buy illegal narcotics.
In view of these grave claims, the Diocese has reiterated its dedication to protecting children’s security and the credibility of the clergy. The Diocese is requesting that anybody with additional claims disclose them to the Diocese’s Victims Assistance Coordinator and local law police as part of its ongoing efforts to address any cases of abuse.
Related Article:Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia Refused to Acknowledge Sexual Abuse Claims Against Priest, Face New Lawsuit