The Catholic priest is arrested for 'raping a mentally handicapped victim of trafficking in human beings & # 39; in Latvia, before a visit from the Pope
- Police arrested 73-year-old priest Pavels Zeila, who served in eastern Latvia
- Area to host Pope Francis during his tour of three Baltic states later this month
- The second man was also arrested on suspicion of trafficking in the case, says the police
A Catholic priest has been arrested for allegations of rape of a mentally disabled victim of human trafficking in Latvia.
The priest, identified as Pavels Zeila, 73, served in the Aglona-Rezekne diocese in eastern Latvia, which will be the seat of Pope Francis during a four-day tour of the three Baltic states later this month.
A second man was also arrested on suspicion of trafficking in the case, which has shocked the Baltic state as it prepares to receive the Pope from September 22.
A Catholic priest has been arrested on charges that he raped a mentally disabled victim of human trafficking in Latvia, police in Riga (pictured) revealed
"One of the suspects" delivered "the defenseless victim for a fee, the representative of the church, who was the final buyer, paid the fee and then committed violent sexual crimes against the victim," said Armands Lubarts, head of a group of police work on human trafficking and procuring.
Zeila's lawyer flatly denied the accusations and the Catholic diocese of Rezekne said that Zeila must be presumed innocent.
The accusations are the last to affect the Catholic Church, which was shaken last month by a devastating report from the United States. UU About child sexual abuse that accuses more than 300 priests & # 39; predators & # 39; of abusing more than 1,000 children for seven decades in the state of Pennsylvania.
The Pope has sharpened his criticism of the explosive issue, but remains under pressure to make far-reaching changes.
Zeila faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of sexual abuse, while the other suspect could be sentenced to 12 years if convicted of human trafficking.
Latvia plans to host Pope Francis (pictured) during a four-day tour of the three Baltic states later this month.