By 1812Blockhouse

On Friday, a former local priest, Rev. Michael J. Zacharias, received a life sentence for multiple federal sex crimes.

The sentence was ordered by Judge Jack Zouhary on Friday in the United States DIstrict Court for the Northern District of Ohio.. Earlier in May, a jury convicted Rev. Zacharias on all counts, including five counts of sex trafficking through force, fraud, or coercion involving three individuals, two of whom were minors when the trafficking began. 

Zacharias’ ministerial journey started in 1999 as a pastoral intern in Columbus, and he later served as an associate pastor at Mansfield St. Peter’s from July 2002 to July 2007.

The Bishop of Toledo, Bishop Daniel E. Thomas, issued the following statement after the sentencing was announced:

“Today’s sentencing of Michael Zacharias in federal court marks another step towards justice for all of those harmed by his actions. As I expressed in my May 12, 2023 statement following his conviction, “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.”

At the conclusion of the federal trial and the conviction of Zacharias, the diocese, in accord with Canon (Church) Law, had requested the imposition of the penalty of direct dismissal of the clerical state (returning him to the lay state), transmitting the case to the Holy See who alone has the authority to make a final determination concerning his status as a priest in the Church. We are awaiting the response.

With this sentencing, and as we await a decision from the Holy See, it is my hope and prayer that healing may continue and justice be restored, as we remain vigilant in confronting evil.”

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