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Brazilian priest cited in ‘Spotlight’ hangs himself in jail

A scene from "Spotlight." Photo courtesy of Open Road Films

BRASILIA, Brazil (Reuters) A Brazilian priest mentioned in the Catholic clergy sex abuse film “Spotlight” has been found dead in a prison cell after he was arrested again for suspected pedophilia.

The Rev. Bonifacio Buzzi, 57, hanged himself with a sheet in a jail in the state of Minas Gerais, where he was taken after his arrest on Friday, authorities said in a statement. His body was discovered on Monday (Aug. 8).

A decade ago Buzzi was convicted of abusing a 10-year-old boy in Minas Gerais and jailed from 2007 to 2015. He was arrested last week after criminal complaints that he had molested two boys aged 9 and 13.

Buzzi was cited among the pedophilia cases listed at the end of “Spotlight,” the Oscar-winning 2015 film based on The Boston Globe newspaper’s investigation of sexual abuses by Catholic priests and efforts by the Archdiocese of Boston to cover them up.

Allegations against Buzzi first emerged in the 1990s in his home state of Santa Catarina. In 1995 he was convicted of molesting two boys in his parish near the city of Mariana after their parents accused him of performing oral sex on their children.

Buzzi got a reduced sentence and the Catholic Church obtained a court order allowing him to serve it out at the home of the local archbishop.

About the author

David Gibson

David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery," which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.

5 Comments

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  • “A decade ago Buzzi was convicted of abusing a 10-year-old boy in Minas Gerais and jailed from 2007 to 2015.”

    This is what should happen to all of those criminals.

    “Buzzi got a reduced sentence and the Catholic Church obtained a court order allowing him to serve it out at the home of the local archbishop.”

    Not this.

    The RCC coddles its child molesters. What a pedophile ring, er, church.

  • Odd that they tie this to Spotlight. No foreign priests were named at the end of Spotlight. National and International cities with epidemics of clergy sex abuse were listed (many, many), but only the cities, not any clergy.. Presumably Brasilia was named. I guess carrying a picture from the movie and saying he was cited in the movie draws more clicks.

  • Yeah, I had wondered about the relevance of this case to Spotlight. I was pretty sure it’s not really connected to the movie, and you confirmed that. Thanks!

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