Church pedophilia scandal grows in Latin America

SAO PAULO - The imprisonment of an 83-year-old priest in Brazil for allegedly abusing boys as young as 12 in a case involving lurid videotape and a congressional investigation is the latest scandal to hit the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America.

The allegations against Monsignor Luiz Marques Barbosa — and 2 other Brazilian priests — have made huge headlines all over the Catholic nation and come amid accusations of sexual activity by priests across the region and in Europe and the U.S.

The scandal erupted when Brazilian television network SBT last month broadcast a tape of Luiz Marques Barbosa in bed with a 19-year-old that was widely distributed on the Internet and the station said the video was secretly filmed in January 2009 and sent namelessly to the network.

It was not clear if the 19-year-old, identified as a former altar boy who had worked with Luiz Marques Barbosa for 4 years, had previous sexual relations with the priest.

SBT reporters went to Barbosa's house and confronted him. Asked if he ever ill-treated boys, Barbosa said he might only answer such a question "in confession" and cut off the interview. Brazil's legislature launched a sex abuse investigation, which produced allegations Luiz Marques Barbosa molested boys. The elderly priest was under arrest late Sunday.

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