Brazilian news media: Polish priest turns himself in to authorities in sex-abuse caseBy Alan Clendenning, AP
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Reports: Polish priest jailed in Brazil abuse case
SAO PAULO — A Polish priest accused of sexually abusing a former altar boy in Rio de Janeiro and turning his parish home into an “erotic dungeon” has turned himself over to police and is now jailed, Brazilian news media reported Saturday.
State prosecutors have accused Marcin Michael Strachanowski of handcuffing the 16-year-old former altar boy to a bed three years ago in the parish house where the priest lived and threatening to kill the youth if he spoke of the abuse.
Strachanowski surrendered at a police station Friday night, the news media reported, displaying images of him being taken away in the back of a police car.
The 44-year-old priest was suspended from duties after the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro learned that a judge had issued an order Thursday for his arrest.
The archdiocese issued a statement Friday announcing the suspension and expressing regret over the alleged abuse.
Judge Alexandre Abrahao Dias said that investigators found “erotic material sent to the victim via Internet to seduce him” and that the priest also took other youths to the parish house, “which he converted into a kind of erotic dungeon where he submitted them, often with the use of handcuffs, to orgies.”
Lawyers representing the priest did not immediately return a telephone message left Friday afternoon seeking comment.
Church officials said that Strachanowski also faces a canonical legal process by an ecclesiastical tribunal, but they declined to provide additional information about the priest, such as how long he has been in Brazil or his work history with the Church.
Sex-abuse scandals involving the Roman Catholic Church have mushroomed around the world recently, and some of the accused priests have surfaced in Brazil, home to more Catholics than any other nation.
Late last month, prosecutors charged the Rev. Jose Afonso with abusing altar boys ranging in age from 12 to 16. Prosecutors said the alleged abuses took place in the city of Franca, in southeastern Sao Paulo state.
Also last month, 83-year-old Monsignor Luiz Marques Barbosa was detained in northeastern Brazil for allegedly abusing at least three boys after being caught on videotape having sex with a former altar boy. Barbosa is under house arrest while authorities investigate. Two other priests in the same archdiocese are also accused of abuses.
The National Conference of Brazilian Bishops recently announced it would prepare a manual with guidelines to help bishops prevent child-abuse cases.
Tags: Brazil, Crimes Against Children, Latin America And Caribbean, Religious Issues, Rio De Janeiro, Sao Paulo, South America, Violent Crime