Ex-altar Boy Files $5 Million Sex Abuse Lawsuit against Miami Archdiocese
By Julia Bagg
March 23, 2012
A South Florida man who claims he was sexually abused by a Catholic priest while he was an altar boy in the 1970s has filed a $5 million lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Miami.
Attorney Ron Weil says his client, a Miami man who is approximately 49-years old, was repeatedly sexually abused at the hands of William Romero, while Romero was a priest at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Coral Gables.
Weil says the abuse began when his client was about eight and continued from 1971 to 1975 inside Romero's living quarters at the church, as well as at a home in Lake Worth.
"He's not ready" to talk about the abuse, Weil said during a news conference Friday.
Weil said his client never told anyone about the abuse while it happened, and said he suffered "traumatic amnesia," a condition where his memory of the incidents was repressed for more than three decades.
The victim began having flashbacks of abuse at the 2008 funeral for his brother, held at St. Augustine Catholic Church the very same parish where he says the priest assaulted him multiple times, Weil said.
A spokeswoman for the archdiocese of Miami said she had not been notified of the accusations until Friday morning, and said she was preparing a statement for a response.
Weil filed the complaint Thursday. The civil suit names St. Augustine Catholic Church, Archbishop Thomas Wenski, and William Romero, citing sexual assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent retention and supervision.
Weil said his case will prove Romero's superiors knew about the abuse and did nothing to stop it.