Toledo’s CBS affiliate reports:
A former northwest Ohio priest was sentenced Friday, just over three years after he was initially arrested on charges of sex trafficking minors and adults, charges on which he was ultimately found guilty.
Michael Zacharias appeared in federal court Friday afternoon, where a judge sentenced him to life in prison on two counts and 20 years on three counts. These sentences will run concurrently.
A federal jury found him guilty in May of five counts of sex trafficking, some of which involved minors. Prosecutors said the crimes, which occurred between 1999 and July 2020, involved Zacharias using his position as a priest at Saint Michael the Archangel Parish to target victims and coerce them into sex acts.
From my May 2023 report:
The first victim was allegedly abused as a Catholic school student in Toledo while Zacharias was in seminary school, with Zacharias paying the victim so Zacharias could perform oral sex on him, including once when the victim was allegedly paid $1,500 for allowing Zacharias to perform oral sex at the rectory of a parish in Van Wert.
Zacharias and the victim made numerous videos, some depicting sex acts and others called “confession videos,” where Zacharias, dressed in his priest attire, confessed to grooming and performing oral sex on the victim. Those videos have been viewed by FBI agents, according to the complaint.
A second victim named in the complaint also told the FBI that he had met Zacharias while a grade school student at a Catholic school in Toledo, with the abuse beginning during the victim’s ninth-grade year.
Michael Zacharias, 53, was found guilty of five counts of sex trafficking by a federal jury Friday for crimes that occurred from approximately 1999 to July 2020.
— WTOL 11 (@WTOL11Toledo) May 12, 2023