Rev. Michael Zacharias guilty on 5 sex-trafficking charges
Former St. Michael the Archangel pastor, Rev. Michael Zacharias, has been found guilty on all five counts in the federal sex-trafficking trial.
The Diocese of Toledo released the following statement:
The Diocese of Toledo has learned that Rev. Michael Zacharias has been found guilty of all five counts brought against him.
Bishop Daniel Thomas had placed Zacharias on administrative leave on August 18, 2020 immediately after his arrest. The Diocese of Toledo fully cooperated with law enforcement throughout this process.
With the conclusion of the federal trial and the conviction of Zacharias, the diocese is now free to address this matter according to Canon (Church) law. The case will be presented to the Holy See who will make the final judgment, which will lead to a determination of his status as a priest.
As Bishop Thomas asserted, “The acts of which Rev. Michael Zacharias has been found guilty are reprehensible, morally deplorable, and manifestly contrary to the dignity due to each human person and the dignity of the priesthood. The Church cannot and will not tolerate any such behavior and takes any sexual abuse or misconduct on the part of a cleric with the utmost seriousness.”
He further remarks, “Considering all that victims have suffered, all that the Church has endured due to the acts of her own members, all that we have done to protect children, to ensure a safe environment and to guard the integrity of the priesthood, still, sometimes, evil has its way. Our society and Church together must bring evil into the light, wherever it is found.”
The Diocese of Toledo remains vigilant in ensuring the protection of children and providing a safe environment for all young people, as well as ensuring the dignity and integrity of the priesthood.
Any allegations of sexual abuse by a priest, deacon, staff member or volunteer affiliated with the Diocese of Toledo should first be reported to local law enforcement where the abuse is alleged to have occurred. Please also report any such allegation to the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 419-214-4880