Brazil Catholic priests face child sex abuse charges

Three Roman Catholic priests in Brazil are suspected of sexually abusing children in a scandal that arose after a video showed one of the priests caught on camera in a sex act with a choirboy.

Brazil Catholic priests face child sex abuse charges

Three Roman Catholic priests in northeastern Brazil are suspected of sexually abusing children in a scandal that arose after a video showed one of the priests caught on camera in a sex act with a choirboy.

The scandal in the world's largest Roman Catholic country comes as the Church globally faces a crisis caused by a wave of allegations of child sex abuse by priests, some going back decades.

Luiz Marques Barbosa, a Catholic monsignor in the city of Arapiraca in Alagaos state, was arrested late on Sunday after a congressional commission examined the video and heard witness statements from alleged victims.

Local police chief Barbara Arraes told Reuters that Barbosa, who media said was between 82 and 84 years old, and two other priests were suspected of abusing children and that prosecutors are now deciding whether to file charges.

One of the other priests had confessed and was helping investigators, she said on Tuesday, while the other had denied the allegations.

Barbosa was put under preventative arrest for 30 days at a military police barracks after police found out he had recently obtained a passport.

Former altar boys in Arapiraca told the congressional commission on pedophilia that they had been sexually abused when they were children.

"The alter boys are adults now but they were minors when it (the abuse) happened," Arraes said.

"Video"

Officials at the Roman Catholic diocese in the area were not immediately available for comment.

Brazilian media, which said that an assistant and a driver for Barbosa also were arrested on suspicion of giving false statements to the commission, reported that Barbosa asked to be pardoned but had denied that he was a pedophile.

One of the witnesses against the priests, 20-year-old former altar boy Fabiano Ferreira, said he was abused since the age of 9 but that police had ignored him when he denounced the abuse 10 years ago, the O Globo newspaper reported.

Another former altar boy filmed Barbosa having sex with the young man, said to be 19 years old, early this year and gave the video to SBT television network.

The video released last month and widely circulated on the Internet shows a man identified as Barbosa engaged in sexual acts with the man on a bed overlooked by a large crucifix on a mantle.

At the end of the video, the elderly man notices the camera at the window and asks, "Who is it?"

The incident scandalized Brazil, where 74 percent of the 190-million strong population is self-declared Catholic.


Agencies

Last Mod: 21 Nisan 2010, 15:26
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