Romanian Orthodox priest removed for suspected sex grooming


BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania’s Orthodox Church has voted to defrock a priest who is suspected of trying to sexually corrupt a teenager — a rare case of a cleric being disciplined for alleged sexual misdemeanors.

The spokesman for the Alba Iulia bishop’s office, Oliviu Botoi, said Friday that Cristian Pomohaci had been suspended for “bringing extraordinary prejudices on the (church’s) image.” He can appeal the vote by the bishop’s office council.

Prosecutors are investigating Pohomaci on charges of attempted sexual corruption of a 17-year-old after a tape emerged where he apparently tried to persuade the boy to have sex with him and to co-opt other minors.

Pomohaci was temporarily suspended from his duties in June. Church spokesman Vasile Banescu said earlier Pohomaci had requested a leave for medical reasons.

More than 85 percent of Romanians are Orthodox Christians.

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