TPD officers disciplined for leak in FBI sex crimes case against local priest

Published: May. 17, 2023 at 7:44 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Officers from the Toledo Police Department are being disciplined for leaking information related to a case about a local priest who was arrested for sex trafficking.

According to documents obtained by 13abc from TPD’s internal affairs investigation, Detective Diana Trevino and Lt. Mark Collins were the officers disciplined for their roles in the information being leaked. Trevino is now retired and Collins still works for TPD.

Once the FBI learned about the leak, they contacted TPD and allowed administrators to start their own investigation.

The documents state Reverend Michael Zacharias was tipped off about the Fed’s sex crimes investigation against him that would eventually lead to his arrest.

TPD wrapped up its investigation in February of 2021. They weren’t able to release any information until the federal case was over. The investigation revealed that Detective Trevino leaked information in the case, telling her former priest, Timothy Ferris, that she knew details about the probe.

“That priest, told his supervisor, who alerted the investigation’s target priest that he was going to be arrested; as a result, evidence was destroyed,” the documents stated.

Reverend Zacharias was convicted last week of sex trafficking three people when they were minors and as adults.

Documents state a TPD officer was assigned to the high profile case. He alerted his supervisor, Lt. Collins, that an arrest and search warrant would take place. Collins then called Trevino to give her a heads up and that it might affect her case load.

The documents indicate Collins never gave Trevino the name of the priest or church because he didn’t know that information, but he did mention the priest worked at a church in Toledo.

Internal documents reveal Trevino contacted Father Ferris by the phone and told him to call her and even asked him to keep the information she was about to share with him a secret.

“Confidentiality does not extend to illegal acts,” said Ferris in a text message reply to Trevino.

Trevino told Ferris that a priest would be arrested.

“She complained about corruption within the Catholic Church, which is why she left. Trevino indicated she did not know the priest’s name or any details of the case because it was not hers, or her department’s investigation,” the documents stated.

Weeks later, Trevino sent Ferris a text message saying “the event is on Wednesday.”

The investigation revealed that Ferris shared the information with a fellow priest who used to live with Zacharias. Ferris also called Monsignor Borger, the Vicar of Priests, but did not reveal any names.

TPD administrators gave Collins a written reprimand for malfeasance.

“He had no authorization to reveal any information related to the investigation to Trevino, regardless of her assignment,” the written reprimand stated.

Trevino received a a 10 day work suspension for malfeasance, meaning she knew what she was doing was wrong.

The Diocese of Toledo released a statement to 13abc saying it “has fully cooperated with the FBI investigation in all aspects of the case of Rev. Zacharias. We have been very transparent and insistent in instructing all members of the diocese that if they had any information regarding Rev. Zacharias’ case, it should be reported immediately to the FBI, which we ourselves did.”

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