Archdiocese Decides against Appealing Sex-Case Setback
By Donna Gehrke-White
March 19, 2002
The Archdiocese of Miami has decided -- for now -- not to appeal last week's Florida Supreme Court ruling that the Catholic hierarchy is responsible for alleged sexual misconduct by a Davie priest and doesn't have First Amendment protection.
"It's not our intention to appeal this, and we will proceed with the civil case," archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said. "We intend to be successful."
The priest, the Rev. Jan Malicki, who was associate pastor of St. David Catholic Church in Davie when the alleged abuse occurred, also is pressing for his day in local civil court. He has denied all allegations, noting that the Broward County State Attorney's Office declined to prosecute him after a two-year investigation.
Malicki was to speak today at a press conference at the Miami office of his new attorney, Ellis Rubin.
"Father Malicki has instructed us to make his defense in the strongest way so that he can rejoin the ranks of good and honorable priests dedicated to the service of God and his parishioners," Rubin said in a statement.
The archdiocese suspended Malicki from active duty after the allegations surfaced in 1998, Agosta said.
May Cain and William Snihur Jr., attorneys for the alleged victims, said they were confident "Jane Doe I" and "Jane Doe II" will win in court.
"Our clients have waited a long time while the archdiocese attempted to avoid responsibility for the actions of its clergy," Snihur said. "The fact that they have decided not to appeal this matter to the U.S. Supreme Court suggests that they are beginning to realize they can no longer ignore that responsibility."
He added, "Father Malicki knows what he did was wrong."
"Jane Doe I," who alleged she was abused as a teen worker in the church office, said in a statement that she cannot believe that her case "has gone on so long."
She said she felt victimized not only by Malicki, but also by the archdiocese.
"Their lack of response has not only been damaging to me, but has been damaging to others," she said. "How many people has this happened to who have not reported it? How many people have fallen victim and been ignored? Something needs to be done to hold them accountable for what is going on."
Rubin said Malicki has been waiting for four years to clear his name.
"He feels he can't get a word in edgewise," Rubin said. "That's why he came to me."
Rubin said he will go to court to ask the stay imposed on Malicki's case be lifted and that a jury trial proceed.
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