Brazilian priest investigated for alleged abuse

Feb 27, 2013, 2:30 PM EST

SAO PAULO (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest is being investigated for allegations of sexual abuse of three young girls in his parish in southeastern Brazil, police said Wednesday.

A police spokeswoman said Father Emilson Soares Correa is under investigation for committing the alleged abuse in Niteroi, a city across Guanabara Bay from Rio de Janeiro. She declined to be identified in accordance with department policy.

The Archdiocese of Niteroi said on its website it was conducting its own investigation and that Correa has been temporarily suspended from his priestly duties.

The spokeswoman said one of the girls, now a 19-year-old woman, claims the abuse started when she was 13.

She told police Correa gave her "expensive gifts and paid for repairs that had to be done in her home," the spokeswoman said.

She said that last year the woman and a 15-year-old friend videotaped a man they said was the priest having sexual intercourse with them. The woman's father gave her the camera to film an encounter and use the tape as evidence, she added.

Part of the video aired by the Globo TV network showed a man identified as the priest naked from the waist up, kissing and embracing the woman and her friend.

The priest's attorney, Roberto Vitagliano, told Globo TV that the woman's father tried to use the tape to "blackmail Correa but when he refused to pay money for it he took it to the police."

The spokeswoman said the father is being investigated for alleged extortion.

Correa is also being investigated for allegedly sexual fondling the woman's now 10-year-old sister three years ago.

"When questioned, he acknowledged he maintained consensual sexual relations with the woman and her 15-year-old friend, but denied he committed any kind of abuse with the 10-year-old girl," the spokeswoman said.