Excommunicated Brazil priest detained for alleged child abuse

HandcuffsFilePhotoCRio De Janeiro, Brazil (AFP) — An excommunicated Brazilian priest was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of child abuse going back decades, police told AFP.

The Catholic Church expelled Joao Marcos Porto Maciel, 74, in Cacapava do Sul in southern Brazil in 2009 though he later founded his own congregation.

City police inspector Igor Bachmann told AFP Maciel had been arrested and could be held for 30 days with a maximum 30-day extension while he is investigated.

“The sexual abuse started more than 50 years ago,” said Bachmann, adding that Maciel had been detained in 2012 and witnesses interviewed.

Although the case was initially left on file “it was reopened following publication of a book by Marcelo Ribeiro,” Bachmann said, referring to a book by a 48-year-old businessman containing an account by an alleged victim abused while Maciel was working in another southern city, Novo Hamburgo.

Another alleged former victim, cellist Alexandre Diel, 42, has likewise accused Maciel of abuse.

Maciel joined the Anglican Church after the Catholics expelled him but was thrown out in 2011.

Thereafter, Bachmann said he founded his own congregation and ran a monastery in Cacapava, teaching flute to youngsters under an assumed name.

Maciel denied the allegations in a television interview, saying he knew Ribeiro had made allegations against him in his book, “but I’m not interested in reading it.”

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