Priest in Troubled Diocese Arrested on Porn Charge

Associated Press, carried in St. Petersburg Times
September 11, 2002

Delray Beach -- Police said they arrested a 43-year-old Catholic priest after he arrived at the beach for a sexual rendezvous with a detective who had been posing as a 14-year-old boy on the Internet.

The Brazilian-born Rev. Elias Francisco Guimaraes was charged late Monday with computer pornography and resisting arrest.

Police said the officer posing as the boy was solicited for sexual favors by a man using e-mail.

The two arranged a meeting at the beach and described to each other what they would be wearing, police said. The priest was arrested when he showed up at the rendezvous site in black shorts, white T-shirt and no underwear, police said.

Detectives said they believe a church computer may have been used to set up the liaisons.

Guimaraes struggled with officers until he was warned an electric Taser gun would be used to subdue him if he didn't stop, police said.

Police said they are looking for other possible victims of sexual abuse because one e-mail allegedly sent by Guimaraes talked about previous sexual encounters with minors.

In a statement, the Rev. Seamus Murtagh, a spokesman for the Diocese of Palm Beach, said the diocese would cooperate with the police investigation. Murtagh would make no other comment.

Guimaraes worked for Our Lady Queen of Peace Mission for less than two years.

Just last week, Bishop Sean Patrick O'Malley of Fall River, Mass., was named to take charge of the troubled diocese, which has had two pedophilia scandals.

O'Malley, know for his tough policies on sexual abuse, replaced Anthony J. O'Connell, who resigned after admitting he inappropriately touched a student at a Missouri seminary in the late 1970s.

O'Connell had stepped in for Bishop J. Keith Symons, who resigned in 1998 after acknowledging that he molested five altar boys decades earlier.


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