Ex-haverhill Priest Accused Again
By Mike LaBella
October 8, 2015
A civil lawsuit says a former priest at All Saints Church convicted in 2000 of raping a 15-year-old girl also sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl a decade and a half ago.
The suit, being brought against the Archdiocese of Boston, says former priest Kelvin Iguabita assaulted the younger girl from 1999 to 2001. The suit says the victim is now 21.
Iguabita was sentenced to 12 to 14 years in prison in 2003 for raping the 15-year-old girl in the All Saints Church rectory. Iguabita was defrocked, or thrown out of the priesthood. He is now 45, has served his jail sentence and is free.
In the civil complaint involving the younger girl, Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian said two priests from the Archdiocese failed to properly supervise Iguabita, which allowed him to become a threat to the younger girl. The complaint identifies those priests as the Rev. William Murphy, currently bishop of Rockville Centre in Long Island, N.Y., who was the first assistant to Cardinal Bernard Law; and the Rev. Paul Miceli, currently dean of seminarians at the John XXIII Seminary in Weston and former secretary of ministerial personnel under Cardinal Law.
When contacted by The Eagle-Tribune for comment Wednesday night, Boston Archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon said that “given the possibility of pending litigation, we will decline to comment at this time.”
Garabedian said Robert Hoatson, co-founder and president of Road to Recovery Inc., a nonprofit charity based in New Jersey that helps sexual abuse victims and their families, plans to announce details of the civil complaint Thursday at 11 a.m. on the public sidewalk outside All Saints Church, 120 Bellevue Ave.
Garabedian said he filed a civil complaint on behalf of his client in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn on Wednesday and that his client has reported the alleged abuse to law enforcement authorities, who are looking into the matter.
Garabedian said that as a result of Iguabita’s abuse, the victim suffers severe emotional pain, has had to pay for medical and therapeutic care, has lost long-term earning capacity and deals with other problems. They include depression, sleep difficulties, agitation, anger and suicidal tendencies, he said.
“What’s also significant here is that it’s a woman,” Garabedian told The Eagle-Tribune. “Most (alleged church abuse victims) who come forward are males.”
Lawyer: Assaults were in church basement, rectory
In the civil complaint, Garabedian said that from about 1999, when his client was approximately 5 years old to about 2001, when she was 6 years old, Iguabita repeatedly sexually assaulted the girl.
The complaint states the abuse took place in the All Saints Church rectory, in the basement of the church and at other locations.
The complaint says that prior to Iguabita being assigned to All Saints, he is alleged to have engaged in sexually abusive conduct with another person while serving as a deacon and was training to become a priest for the Archdiocese of Boston.
Iguabita was convicted of raping the 15-year-old girl at the rectory of All Saints Church in 2000. Charged with child rape, two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over age 14, and unnatural acts with a child, Iguabita was found guilty June 20, 2003, after a trial in Lawrence Superior Court.
Judge Richard Welch sentenced Iguabita, a native of Colombia, to 12 to 14 years in prison. The district attorney’s office had recommended an 8- to 10-year sentence.
Prosecutors said the details of that case surfaced when the victim, Faith Johnston, sought counseling. The Eagle-Tribune ordinarily does not publish the names of victims of sexual crimes, but Johnston allowed the media to identify her.
According to the Archdiocese of Boston Offices & Services division, Iguabita, who was ordained in 1999, served at All Saints Parish from June 1999 to June 2001. He served in a “non-parish” ministry in Brighton from June 2001 to August 2001, and took a leave of absence from September 2001 to December 2002. From December 2002 to January 2005, his status was “no assignment/incarcerated.” Iguabita was “dismissed” from service with the Archdiocese in 2005, according to Archdiocese records.
Garabedian said his client, the alleged younger victim, decided to bring a suit against the two Archdiocese priests because she is looking for validation of what happened to her, and also to heal.
“In the civil legal system, validation is achieved through a financial award,” Garabedian said. “Unfortunately, no amount of money can give back to her what was lost when she was sexually molested.”
Police review latest complaint
Garabedian said his client has reported the alleged abuse to law enforcement authorities and they are looking into the matter.
“It is my belief that Iguabita is somewhere in Honduras, unsupervised and probably sexually molesting children,” Garabedian said.
Garabedian said Iguabita also calls himself Kelvin Rodriguez.
Garabedian said the public announcement on Thursday in front of All Saints Church is intended to notify the public about what happened there.
“The community in and around All Saints should be aware of what went on in that church,” Garabedian said. “On many occasions, sexual abuse victims think they are the only victims of a predator. Coming forward and reporting sexual abuse in the community may help other victims try to heal.
“By reporting the sexual abuse, my client has empowered herself and other sexual abuse victims and made the world a safer place for children,’’ he said.
The civil complaint notes that the supervisory priests knew or should have known that Iguabita would interact and was interacting with minor children of All Saints Parish, including the plaintiff.
“What is significant is this case involves a woman who is turning 21 shortly,” Garabedian told The Eagle-Tribune. “Because she was sexually abused from approximately 1999 to 2001, it has become apparent that the sexual abuse crisis has continued into the new millennium.
“The church will have you believe the sexual abuse crisis has ended and priests are no longer sexually abusing children, but many victims are highly skeptical of that position, and rightfully so,” he said.
In the civil complaint, Garabedian noted that Iguabita’s duties at All Saints Parish included training, guiding, counseling and supervising minor children of the parish. Iguabita had a home in the parish rectory next to the church.
When Pope Benedict XVI visited the United States in the spring of 2008, Johnston, the female Iguabita was convicted of raping, and other victims of abuse by priests met with him. Johnston received an apology from the pope.
Johnston told authorities that Iguabita promised to marry her if she had sex with him and committed two sexual acts on her. On one occasion, she said, Iguabita halted one of his sexual assaults when he went to hear confessions and celebrate Mass.
Johnston was working at the rectory as a part-time secretary. She told investigators she declined Iguabita’s overtures on several occasions before he assaulted her. The assaults began in July 2000, she said.
Road to Recovery is a nonprofit organization that offers counseling and referral services to survivors of sexual abuse. Launched in 2005 to provide direct assistance to victims of clergy sexual abuse, the organization has expanded its mission to include survivors of all sexual abuse.