Diocesan Priest Placed on Administrative Leave Following His Arrest
Bishop Daniel E. Thomas has placed Father Michael Zacharias, a priest of the Diocese of Toledo and pastor of St. Michael the Archangel parish in Findlay, on administrative leave effective immediately. This action was taken immediately upon receiving word of his arrest this morning in Findlay. The Diocese has been informed of the grave and reprehensible charges of a sexual nature, with minors and adults, and is cooperating fully with law enforcement.
In response to this initial information, Bishop Daniel Thomas expressed his revulsion at the charges, remarking, “I am profoundly shocked and grieved to learn of these charges against one of our priests. The Church cannot and will not tolerate any such behavior and takes any sexual abuse or misconduct on the part of a cleric with the utmost seriousness. As we await the outcome of the criminal investigation, our prayers go out to anyone affected by this situation.”
Father Zacharias was ordained a priest in 2002 and these are the first such allegations to be raised against him.
In accordance with the Policy for the Protection of Minors and Young People, while on administrative leave, Father Zacharias cannot exercise public priestly ministry, administer any of the Sacraments, wear clerical attire or present himself as a priest. Administrative leave is a precautionary measure while an allegation is being investigated.
Any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest, deacon, staff member or volunteer affiliated with the Diocese of Toledo should first be reported to local law enforcement where the abuse is alleged to have occurred. To report any allegation regarding this case, please first contact the FBI at 216-622-6842. Please also report any such allegation to the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 419-214-4880.