Criminal Complaint: United States of America v. Michael Zacharias

Federal Bureau of Investigation/U.S. District Court – Northern District of Ohio

August 17, 2020

By Special Agent Brian E. Russ

7. On July 29, 2020, Victim #1 was contacted by the FBI. Victim #1 revealed that “FrZ” refers to Father Zacharias, a priest, and that Zacharias had molested and raped him as a child. Victim #1 stated that Zacharias paid him in exchange for being able to perform oral sex on Victim #1 when Victim #1 was a minor, and that Zacharias continued to pay him money for sex even after Victim #1 turned 18, including when Victim #1 was drug-addicted and needed the money for his drug habit. Victim #1 stated that they continue to communicate via phone calls and text messages.

8. On August 3, 2020, Victim #1 was interviewed in more detail. Victim #1 said that he first met Zacharias in Catholic school in Toledo when he was in the sixth grade and Zacharias was in the Seminary. With a physically abusive and largely absent father, Victim #1 viewed Zacharias as a father figure. Over the years, and into junior high and high school, Zacharias spent time with Victim #1, came over to his house, gave him money, and showed him affection, including inappropriate touching, as well as inappropriate sexual comments.

9. Affiant is aware that all of this time, attention, and money by Zacharias is consistent with grooming – a process in which the sexual abuser befriends and establishes an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes also family members, to lower the child’s inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse. This process can occur over many weeks, months, and even years.

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