Police say they have caught a Roman Catholic priest who disappeared after he was convicted of sexually abusing young girls in southern Brazil.

A police officer in the state of Rio Grande do Sul says the Rev. Avelino Backes was arrested Monday after being found in a hospital in the town of Santa Rosa.

The officer said Wednesday he does not know why Backes was hospitalized. He asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Backes disappeared in 2008 after being sentenced to seven years in jail for molesting girls aged 9 and 10 in the neighboring state of Santa Catarina in the 1990s.

The 70-year-old priest will be sent back to Santa Catarina after leaving the hospital.