Brazilian prosecutors have charged a Roman Catholic priest with possession and exchange over the Internet of pornographic images of mainly male adolescents in the latest such scandal to rock the Brazilian church.
Prosecutors in the northeastern state of Alagoas on Thursday identified the priest as Benedikt Lennartz (41), the parish priest in Craibas, 160 kilometres from the state capital.
"An investigation of the priest's residence revealed the existence of a computer hard drive with 1300 photographs of explicit sex scenes or pornography involving adolescents, most of them males," an official statement said.
The latest charge comes after three other Catholic clergymen in Alagoas were formally accused of pedophilia, one of them after being filmed in sexual acts with minors.
The Brazilian cases were part of a larger wave of child abuse allegations that have raised questions about how the church hierarchy, including Pope Benedict XVI, has dealt with the problem of pedophile priests.
In March, the Vatican recognized that three priests from Alagoas state were suspected of abusing minors and were being investigated.
SBT television had earlier aired hidden camera video in which father Luis Marques Barbosa (82) was seen having sexual relations with a male youth.
"It saddens and humiliates us to think of the dramatic situation of the possible victims, and of the church being vilified because of the immoral behavior of one who should have been a teacher of the faith," Bishop Valerio Breda of Penedo, Alagoas said in a statement Thursday.
The bishop called for "justice and reparation" if the accusations of sexual abuse are confirmed.
He said the diocese only learned of the cases of three priests when they were exposed by a local television station, and that they were immediately relieved of their duties.