Former local priest gets indicted on 10 charges of sex trafficking

The deadline has been extended regarding a plea deal offered to a former priest that served in Van Wert and Findlay.

Court documents from the U.S. District Court in Toledo say that Michael Zacharias now has until Monday, May 16th at 2 p.m., to decide if he'll take a plea deal. He is facing a total of five charges in federal court, all involving trafficking either minors or adults for sex.

He was arrested in 2020 by the Northwest Ohio Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. 5 of the 10 original charges have been dismissed. The offenses started when Zacharias was working with Catholic schools in Toledo and continued for years until the victims were adults. The indictment says that he would give money to the victims to help feed their drug addiction in exchange for sex.

A district court judge ruled the interest of justice being served, outweighs the interest of the public or the defendant in obtaining a speedy trial.

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