Missouri Priest Found Guilty Of Stealing From Church Convicted Of Sex Solicitation In Confessional

Image not from story (Photo by EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP via Getty Images)

Mariane Angela Contributor
Font Size:

A Missouri priest was convicted of engaging in sexual solicitation during a penitent’s confession, local church authorities announced Monday.

Ignazio Medina, a retired cleric of the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, was convicted following a church tribunal, according to a press release. The ruling has immediate consequences for Medina. He is now prohibited from executing any clerical duties, including publicly celebrating Mass and hearing confessions from the congregation. The decision was made after an investigation led by Bishop W. Shawn McKnight.

The inquiry into Medina’s actions began following a complaint received via the diocese’s abuse hotline in April 2022, according to the press release. This led to an examination of the allegations against Medina, who served at Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Lake Ozark. The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome found Medina guilty Nov. 27, 2023. Medina chose not to contest the ruling. (RELATED: Former Catholic Priest Bags 25 Years In Jail For Drugging, Molesting 17 Men)

“I want to be clear that sexual solicitation during confession is a sacrilege, a crime in our Church, and a grave form of abuse; it cannot be tolerated,” Bishop McKnight said in the release. “With God’s help we must work to continue to eradicate abuse from all corners of our Church. Please join me in prayer for all who are left in pain and confusion when a trusted leader abuses their position of sacred trust and power for sinful purposes.”

“I thank the victim in this case for stepping forward, and I pray for healing,” Bishop McKnight said. “I also thank all who helped during the investigation and disciplinary process.”

It was previously reported that a panel of judges found Medina guilty of stealing from the church. An internal investigation revealed the retired pastor had misappropriated $300,000 from the diocese, according to a press release.

The inquiry was spearheaded by a trio of judges, each proficient in canon law. They determined the then-former pastor Ignazio Medina was responsible for misusing his ecclesiastical authority for financial wrongdoing.