October 23, 2020
By Jenson Strock
Michael Zacharias, 53, is accused of exploiting the drug addiction of minor victims by paying for their habits in exchange for alleged sex acts.
Fndlay OH – A former Findlay priest is the subject of a 10-count indictment, facing charges that include sex trafficking of minor, sex trafficking of an adult and minor by force, fraud and coercion.
The indictment was handed down by a federal grand jury in Cleveland on Friday against Michael J. Zacharias, 53. He was arrested on Aug. 18 and has since remained in federal custody.
“This defendant is accused of using his status and position as a religious and community leader to seek out troubled minors and exploit their personal challenges for his own satisfaction,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “This indictment is a step toward finding justice for the victims, families and community harmed by the defendant and his alleged acts.”
According to court documents, from approximately 1999 to July 2020, Zacharias is accused of sex trafficking of a minor victim and using force, fraud or coercion to sexually traffic other minors and adults.
During this time, he was enrolled as a seminarian and served as a priest at various religious institutions in the Northern District of Ohio.
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