Skip to main content
Press Release

Former South Carolina Priest Pleads Guilty in Federal Court to Child Sexual Exploitation Offense

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of South Carolina

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA — Jamie Adolfo Gonzalez-Farias, a/k/a “Father Gonzalez,” 68, of Laurens, a former Catholic priest, has pleaded guilty in federal court to Transportation of a Minor with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity.  Specifically, Gonzalez-Farias admitted that he transported a minor victim from South Carolina to Florida with the intent to commit lewd and lascivious exhibition and lewd and lascivious molestation in violation of Florida state law. 

According to evidence presented in court:

Gonzalez-Farias served as a Catholic priest in Newberry and Laurens Counties.  In May 2020, Gonzalez-Farias met the minor victim and his family by virtue of his service as a priest.  He began giving gifts and increasing amounts of attention towards the minor victim.  In November 2020, the minor victim’s family reported to Catholic authorities their concern that the priest’s relationship with the minor victim was inappropriate.  Church authorities suspended Gonzalez-Farias and made a report to the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office, and an investigation ensued. 

The FBI conducted a forensic interview in which the minor victim disclosed that in November 2020, when the minor victim was 11 years-old, the priest took him to Florida under the pretense of a beach vacation. During that trip, Gonzales-Farias masturbated in front of the minor victim, attempted to sexually assault the minor victim, and showed the minor victim pornography.  The FBI corroborated the victim’s disclosures by recovering text messages and WhatsApp messages sent by the priest to the minor, which were consistent with the victim’s disclosures. 

When the FBI and the United States Marshals Service arrested Gonzales-Farias at the Miami International Airport, he admitted that he showered with the victim, that he touched the minor victim’s genitals, and that he showed the minor victim pornography.

United States District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis accepted the guilty plea and will sentence Gonzalez-Farias after receiving and reviewing a sentencing report prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.  Transportation of a Minor with Intent to Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum penalty of life in prison, plus fines and restitution. The statute also requires the defendant to register as a sex offender. 

The FBI is seeking the public’s help in identifying potential victims.  If you believe you or your minor dependent(s) were victimized by Gonzalez-Farias, or if you have relevant information about Gonzalez-Farias the FBI should know, you are encouraged to contact the FBI at 803-551-4200.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information, please visit

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elliott B. Daniels and E. Elizabeth Major are prosecuting the case.



Brook Andrews, First Assistant United States Attorney,, (803) 929-3000

Updated August 10, 2023

Project Safe Childhood