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Catholic priest sentenced to life for sex trafficking boys, manipulating opioid addictions

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Mike Zacharias sentenced to life

Ohio Catholic priest guilty of sex trafficking boys; allegations spanned 15 years

Testimony and evidence at trial showed Zacharias developed relationships with the victims' families when they were young to gain their trust, prosecutors said. As the victims got older, he exploited their fears, their housing instability and their criminal records to force them into commercial sex.

Zacharias was ordained as a priest in 2002, a Diocese of Toledo news release said. In 2020, upon his arrest, Zacharias was placed on administrative leave from his role in the diocese and a pastor at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Toledo.

On Friday, the Rev. Daniel Thomas, the bishop for the Toledo diocese, said in a statement that Zacharias' life sentence marked another step toward justice. After he was convicted in May, Thomas said, the diocese requested to dismiss Zacharias, 56, under canonical law, but it needs official approval from the Vatican. The diocese is awaiting a response.



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