|Dade Priest Takes Leave after Abuse Allegation
By Evan S. Benn and Jorge Valencia
October 26, 2007
A man filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit Friday against the Archdiocese of Miami, alleging a Miami-Dade priest sexually abused him when he was 17.
The suit claims Father Rolando Castillo molested the unidentified plaintiff in 2001 in the office of St. Timothy Catholic Church in Southwest Miami-Dade.
Castillo, 40, is the current pastor at St. Timothy, 5400 SW 102nd Ave. At the time of the alleged abuse, Castillo was an associate pastor and church administrator.
"Castillo's conduct was outrageous, going beyond all bounds of decency," according to the lawsuit, which requests at least $10 million. "Upon information and belief, the Archdiocese knew or should have known that Castillo was sexually abusing boys and took no action to protect John [Doe]."
Attorneys for the plaintiff, who is now 23, announced the lawsuit at a news conference Friday afternoon in Miami.
Asked by reporters why he did not come forward with his allegations until now, the alleged victim said, "Back then was a difficult age for anyone to say anything about something like this."
The archdiocese said the office had never received a report of misconduct involving Castillo until Friday's lawsuit. The pastor has taken a leave of absence while the archdiocese investigates.
'Because every accusation against a priest requires an investigation to determine credibility, Father Castillo, while denying the allegation, has decided to temporarily step down from his duties as pastor and has asked for his parishioners' prayers for a prompt resolution," archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta wrote in a statement.
Castillo was born in Nicaragua and graduated from Sunset Senior High after his family moved to Florida, according to a biography on St. Timothy's website.
He became an ordained priest in 1994 and has worked at churches throughout Miami-Dade County, including St. Patrick's in Miami Beach, Immaculate Conception in Hialeah and St. Hugh in Coconut Grove.
Castillo joined St. Timothy Catholic Church in 2001 and was named pastor there in 2004.
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