Child sex scandals roiling the Roman Catholic church spread to Brazil Tuesday after the Vatican said three priests were under investigation following allegations of child abuse.
The Vatican's acknowledgement takes controversies that have rocked the church in the United States and more recently in Europe to the country with the largest Catholic population in world. About 74 per cent of Brazil's 140 million people identify as Catholics.
SBT television last week aired video from a hidden camera showing father Marques Barbosa, 82, having sex with a 19-year-old boy in the northeastern state of Alagoas.
After the act, the priest's face is identified as he looks toward the camera and says "Who's there?" "Who is it?"
The report on the program Conexao Reporter also included charges by three former altar boys that they too had been sexually abused by local priests.
After the show was aired, Alagoas bishop Valerio Breda ordered the removal from church work of priests Luiz Marques Barbosa, Edilson Duarte and Raimundo Gomes.
"One was removed from his parish and faces charges in the civil justice system," Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi told AFP, adding that the other two had been suspended from their duties pending an investigation.
Graphic video of Marques Barbosa's abuse last year with a victim identified as Fabiano is being sold on the streets of the town of Arapiraca, website Alagoas 24 horas reported.
Elsewhere in Latin America, a Spanish religious instructor was reported to have been jailed in Chile for possession of pornographic images of children.
A prosecutor said the priest, Jose Arregui, 53, would be tried for child pornography possession on March 24, the newspaper La Tercera's website reported.
Paedophile priest scandals have rocked several churches in Europe since the Irish government released two explosive reports in November.
Revelations followed in Switzerland, The Netherlands, Austria and Germany - the homeland of Pope Benedict XVI.
Both the pope and his older brother Georg Ratzinger were caught up in the spiralling scandal in Germany.
The pope's former diocese of Munich confirmed a report that, as Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger in 1980, he had approved housing so that a known paedophile priest could seek therapy, while Georg directed a boys choir whose members later suffered abuse.
Vatican spokesman Lombardi charged at the weekend that there had been a "dogged focus" on the Ratzinger brothers in a bid "to personally implicate the Holy Father in questions of abuse."
"It is clear that these efforts have failed," he added.
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