Ex-Catholic priest gets nearly 22 years in prison for attempted sexual abuse of a South Carolina boy

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A former Catholic priest in South Carolina has been sentenced to nearly 22 years in prison for trying to sexually assault a boy and showing him pornography. Jamie Adolfo Gonzalez-Farias, 69, could have faced a life sentence. Federal Judge Mary Geiger Lewis on Thursday granted part of a defense motion for a lighter prison term and sentenced the priest to 21 years and 10 months in prison, along with lifetime monitoring if he is ever released.

Gonzalez-Farias, who was known in several parishes as “Father Gonzales,” was a priest for more than 30 years after being ordained in his native Chile, according to court records. He came to the United States in 2001 and was sent in 2020 to serve three small South Carolina churches in Newberry, Joanna and Laurens where he met the family of an 11-year-old boy, federal prosecutors said.

Gonzalez-Farias lavished attention on the boy and his family, giving them gifts and other items. He took the boy on a beach vacation to Florida in November 2020 where he attempted to sexually assault the child, behaved in other sexually inappropriate ways and showed him pornography, FBI agents said. Gonzalez-Farias pleaded guilty to transporting a minor intending to engage in criminal sexual activity in August.

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His lawyer asked for a 10-year sentence because his guilty plea kept the boy and his family from having to testify and relive what happened. The priest wrote a letter to the boy’s family, saying he knew he hurt them and was truly sorry about harming him and violating their trust.