Former Altar Boy Says Two Priests Abused Him
NBC 6 [Florida]
October 18, 2006
Hialeah, Fla. -- A priest resigned Tuesday on the same day the attorney of a former altar boy who claimed he was sexually abused by two priests filed a lawsuit against the archdiocese.
The lawsuit claimed the boy, who once dreamed of being a priest, was abused by two priests when he attended summer camp at the St. Vincent De Paul church in Boynton Beach when he was 14 years old.
"This boy was attending a camp that was designed to attract young kids who might be interested in the Catholic Church, interested in becoming priests," said the alleged victim's lawyer, Jeff Herman. "They invited him to their rooms. They gave him alcohol. Eventually, that led to sexual abuse."
"We are treating it as a credible allegation, and the archdiocese is very clear on its policies on how to deal with credible allegations," said Mary Ross Agosta of the Archdiocese of Miami.
The Rev. Gustavo Miyares, who has been with the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hialeah for about 30 years, resigned Tuesday, the same day the alleged victim's lawyer filed a lawsuit against the archdiocese.
"They would take him out to restaurants. They would give him alcohol in restaurants, and it was sort of well known what was going on with these priests," Herman said.
"As many people know, Father Gus Miyares is a very, very popular priest here in the Archdiocese of Miami, so it was with sadness when we learned of the allegations," Agosta said.
Also named in the lawsuit was former priest Pedro Jove, who is now the executive director of the Alliance for Aging in Miami. Jove denied allegations from the lawsuit that said he and the other priest molested the boy on numerous occasions in multiple locations.
"This is the first I hear, and obviously I'm outraged," Jove said.
Jove said he would defer comment on whether he knew Miyares.
The alleged victim, who is now 39 years old, released a statement Tuesday, saying, "I lived with the pain for 25 years. My life was torn apart emotionally. I was just a kid, self-conscious, insecure, shy and needing direction. I was the perfect vulnerable target."
"We have responded as quickly as we possibly could to the victim, including flying to his hometown to meet with him and his wife. We take the allegation extremely seriously," Agosta said.
Immaculate Conception parishioner Ignacio Iglesias said he has known Miyares for almost 20 years. He and other parishioners defended the accused priest Tuesday evening.
"He's been a wonderful pastor to this parish, and that's just absurd," Iglesias said.
The archdiocese has been speaking with the state attorney about the allegations. There is no word on what the state attorney plans to do.
The archdiocese said it wants anyone with any allegations of abuse to contact it.
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