Statement of the Archdiocese of Miami Regarding Fr. Rolando Garcia
Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami
October 23, 2012
The Archdiocese of Miami has announced that Fr. Roland Garcia, pastor of St. Agatha Catholic Church, was placed on administrative leave today due to an allegation brought forth against him by Mr. Tony Simmons yesterday, October 22, 2012.
The Archdiocese had no prior notice of this allegation before yesterday's press conference announcing this latest lawsuit against Fr. Rolando Garcia and the Archdiocese of Miami.
Upon learning of this allegation, the Archdiocese, in addition to having placed Father Garcia on administrative leave, the Archdiocese will offer counseling to the alleged victim and conduct an investigation following procedures outlined in Protecting God's Children
This past August, when an allegation was made against Fr. Garcia, the Archdiocese contacted him while Father was on vacation in Cuba. At that time, Archbishop Wenski placed Father Garcia on administrative leave and instructed that he not return to St. Agatha's until an investigation had been complete. Fr. Garcia was extremely cooperative and voluntarily took a lie detector test that supported his denial of having abused anyone at any time. At that time, the Archdiocese also interviewed the alleged victim.
With the investigation completed and upon the recommendation of the Archdiocesan Review Board, it was determined that the allegation was not credible. Archbishop Wenski returned Fr. Garcia to his parish following his ten-day leave. Upon his return, Fr. Garcia read his statement at every Mass on the August 24-25, 2012, providing full disclosure of the allegation and the outcome of the investigation. Subsequent to these events, lawsuit was filed against Fr. Garcia and the Archdiocese of Miami.
In that case and in the present one, the Archdiocese of Miami has followed its policy Protecting God's Children on the procedures to follow when any allegation of sexual abuse is made.
During this time, we ask for your prayers for the parishioners of St. Agatha Church, for Father Garcia and for all those affected by this latest accusation.