Rolando Garcia, St. Agatha Priest, Placed on Leave Following New Claims of Sexual Abuse
October 26, 2012
After weeks of repeated calls for his dismissal, the Archdiocese of Miami indefinitely removed Father Rolando Garcia from pastoring his congregation as new claims of underaged sexual abuse were brought to light.
Tony Simmons, 34, stood before media at St. Agatha Catholic Church Wednesday to publicly reveal himself as the "John Doe No. 95" who filed the latest lawsuit against Fr. Garcia and South Florida's embattled archdiocese.
Since August, Garcia has been named by several men who were purported victims of abuse as boys, and the priest has a history of similar sordid accusations dating back several years.
In the latest suit, Simmons charges the Catholic clergyman molested him for several years as a teenaged runaway, abuse which started in 1994. He says the priest began performing sex acts on him soon after Simmons sought his counsel at age 16, and that the abuse continued for several years.
"He controlled my job, he controlled where I lived. I was trapped. If I didn't do itů [I had] nowhere to live," Simmons recounted to NBC 6.
The alleged victim said the abuse only stopped when he joined the Army and was deployed to Iraq in 2003.
"The sex abuse included oral sex, it included sodomy, and it went on for years," Simmons' lawyer Jeff Herman told Local 10 at a press briefing. Simmons said he only came forward upon uncovering stories Garcia had abused young boys.
Just last week, Simmons' attorney sat beside another adult victim who accused Garcia of paying him hush money not to speak about his abuse at the hands of a second priest.
The Archdiocese of Miami responded to Simmons' claim in a statement saying, in part:
Mr. Herman has filed several lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Miami involving Fr. Garcia, and yet to date, none have been proven credible.
NBC 6 reports Garcia was placed on a 10-day administrative leave while an Archdiocesan Review Board decide their next course of action.