May 22nd, 2010
12:15 PM ET

Priest accused of having 'erotic dungeon' surrenders

[Updated 12:15 p.m. ET]  A Polish-born priest accused of sexually abusing minors in his parochial residence in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has turned himself in, state officials said Saturday.

State security officials said Marcin Michal Strachanowski, 44, surrendered to authorities Friday night in the village of Realengo.

State Civil Police had issued a "preventative arrest" warrant against Strachanowski on Thursday. The priest is accused of handcuffing a minor in 2006 and forcing him to perform sexual acts at his home in the Divino Espirito Santo church in Rio de Janeiro's west zone, the officials said.

In a press statement, the Rio de Janeiro archdiocese said it has suspended Strachanowski from his duties and that in addition to the criminal inquiry, the church has called on a ecclesiastic tribunal to oversee a canonical trial.

"The archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro laments the incident, especially for the people involved, especially for the possible victims, and clarifies that the mentioned clergyman already finds himself suspended of his parochial functions," the statement said.

According to Brazil's Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, the priest could not be found Friday morning.

The newspaper reported that a 16-year old alleged victim told investigators that after being frequently raped by the priest, he was forced to remain silent and was threatened regularly.

Citing court statements, the newspaper reported that criminal Judge Alexandre Abrahao Dias Teixeira said police investigations revealed the profile of a man with a "compulsive attraction to having sex with adolescents" and that he had allegedly turned his parish residence into an "erotic dungeon" where he forced boys to have sex with him.

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Filed under: Brazil • Church Abuse
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