Rio de Janeiro: A Roman Catholic priest in Brazil is facing charges that he abused eight boys in cases dating back to 1995, prosecutors have said, adding to a growing list of allegations against clergy in Latin America.
Father Jose Afonso, 74, is accused of abusing altar boys between the ages of 12 and 16, Sao Paulo state prosecutors said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.
Prosecutors said the reported abuses occurred this year, in 2009 and in 2001 in the city of Franca, about 400 kilometres north of Sao Paulo city. At least one case was reported in 1995 in the neighbouring state of Minas Gerais.
Afonso remains free while a judge decides if he should be jailed.
The case is the latest to hit Brazil, which has more Catholics than any other nation, and Latin America as a whole.
Earlier this month, 83-year-old Monsignor Luiz Marques Barbosa was detained in northeastern Brazil for allegedly abusing at least three boys after being caught on video tape having sex with a young man, a former altar boy.
He is under house arrest while an investigation continues. Two other priests in the same archdiocese as Barbosa are also accused of abuses.