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

Feb 9, 2024, 9:53 AM | Updated: 4:40 pm

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — 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. 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.

“I have failed to God, to our Catholic Church, and to you, who opened the door of your home for me and let your son spend time with me,” Gonzalez-Farias wrote.

Included in court papers for the defense were 25 notes of support from people who were in Gonzalez-Farias’ churches across the U.S. Some were in Spanish. Many said they couldn’t believe he was capable of abusing a child.

Gonzalez-Farias worked in medical technology in Chile before attending spiritual retreats with monks and entering the priesthood, the defense said.

He worked in New Jersey and Florida when he first came to the U.S. in 2001 before going back to Chile. He returned to the U.S. in 2015 and spent five years at Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in Greer, South Carolina, according to court records.

United States News

FILE - Leaders take their seats for a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council during the NATO summit in...

Associated Press

With words, deeds and arms deals, allies make the case for NATO in terms that would appeal to Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) — European allies in NATO are stepping up their military spending, just as Donald Trump wanted. They’re pointing to common interests, such as concerns over China. They’re creating American jobs by buying U.S. weapons. In words, deeds and arms deals, leaders of the United States’ partners in NATO are making the case for […]

4 minutes ago

Associated Press

The UN condemns increasing gang violence and criminal activity in Haiti that is undermining peace

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution condemning “in the strongest terms” the increasing gang violence and criminal activity in Haiti that is undermining peace, stability and security in the country and the region. Friday’s resolution expresses grave concern at illegal arms and ammunition flowing into Haiti and their link […]

6 hours ago

Actor Alec Baldwin reacts during his trial for involuntary manslaughter for the 2021 fatal shooting...

Associated Press

Inside the courtroom as case dismissed against Alec Baldwin in fatal shooting of cinematographer

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A nearly three-year legal saga for Alec Baldwin in the fatal shooting of a cinematographer ended Friday without a verdict but with tears of relief for the actor and a small coterie of family who had settled into a somber daily routine on wooden benches inside a windowless New Mexico […]

6 hours ago

FILE - U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres listens to a speech during the opening of the High-L...

Associated Press

UN chief urges funds for Palestinians, saying Israel is forcing Gazans ‘to move like human pinballs’

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief appealed for funding Friday for the beleaguered U.N. agency helping Palestinian refugees in Gaza and elsewhere in the Middle East, accusing Israel of issuing evacuation orders that force Palestinians “to move like human pinballs across a landscape of destruction and death.” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a donor’s […]

7 hours ago

Meals on Wheels employees take advantage of an assembly line to prepare bags of food for clients, F...

Associated Press

Houston community groups strain to keep feeding and cooling a city battered by repeat storms

HOUSTON (AP) — The deafening hum of a generator was a welcome noise Thursday evening at a Houston independent living center where several dozen seniors had lost power in the wake of Hurricane Beryl. Joe and Terri Hackl, who had pulled up with the backup electricity source after delivering hundreds of meals all day, estimate […]

8 hours ago

Twin sisters Jo and Joy Banner pose for a photograph in front of their business, Fee-Fo-Lay Café, ...

Associated Press

Historically Black Cancer Alley town splits over a planned grain terminal in Louisiana

WALLACE, La. (AP) — Sisters Jo and Dr. Joy Banner live just miles from where their ancestors were enslaved more than 200 years ago in St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. Their tidy Creole cottage cafe in the small, river-front town of Wallace lies yards away from property their great-grandparents bought more than a century […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.


Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

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