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Ex-Catholic priest gets 22 years in prison in child sex abuse case

An investigation began after an 11-year-old boy's family raised concerns that the priest's relationship with the child was inappropriate.
Ex-Catholic priest gets 22 years in prison in child sex abuse case
Posted at 1:02 PM, Feb 13, 2024

A former Catholic priest from South Carolina has been sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison after attempting to sexually assault an 11-year-old boy and showing him pornography.

Jaime Adolfo Gonzalez-Farias, known as Father Gonzalez, was convicted on transportation of a minor with intent to engage in illegal sexual acts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina.

Gonzalez-Farias met the minor victim and his family through his role as a priest in 2020. He began giving high levels of attention to the child, and even gifted him a cellphone that he used to communicate with the boy, the attorney’s office said. 

In November 2020, the boy’s family reported their concerns to Catholic authorities that the priest’s relationship with the child was inappropriate. Gonzalez-Farias was suspended from his duties and reported to the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office and FBI Columbia Field Office by church officials.

"Investigators learned that in November 2020 the priest took the minor victim to Florida alone under the pretense of a beach vacation, and during that trip, Gonzales-Farias masturbated in front of the victim, attempted to sexually assault him, and showed the minor victim pornography," said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina, in a press release

Investigators uncovered inappropriate text and WhatsApp messages sent by the priest to the minor, which included "affectionate names for the child" and messages consistent with the boy’s disclosure of abuse. 

FBI agents arrested Gonzalez-Farias on Nov. 28, 2022, at Miami International Airport. After being taken into custody, the priest admitted to touching the boy’s genitals in Florida, showing him pornography and showering with him in South Carolina. He pleaded guilty in August 2023. 

U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis has now sentenced Gonzalez-Farias to 21 years and 10 months in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release. The priest will also have to register as a sex offender and is ordered to pay restitution to the victim. 

Gonzalez-Farias worked as a priest since at least 1990, and served in South Carolina since 2015, until his suspension in 2020.

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