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  Ex-Altar Boy Details Alleged Abuse by Priest

By Jay Weaver, Lisa Arthur and Amy Driscoll
Miami Herald
May 18, 2002

The former altar boy is a 35-year-old man now, and he is confronting his demons: On Friday, he sued the priest that he trusted, the priest he claims molested him in the darkness of a theater and at his parents' house.

"I turned away so he couldn't touch me and pretended I was sleeping," said Juan MJ Doe, as he is known in the lawsuit, recalling a late-night assault. "The next day he showed up with a remote-controlled airplane for me."

Doe is accusing the Rev. Francisco Carrera of molesting him in the early 1980s while Carrera was assigned to Our Lady of Divine Providence Church in west Miami-Dade County. Carrera was unavailable for comment.

The suit claims Carrera "engaged in repeated unpermitted and harmful sexual contact" with the 13-year-old altar boy before the Archdiocese of Miami sent him out of the United States in 1981.

Doe told The Herald that Carrera first fondled him at the Miami Space Transit Planetarium and a "campout" with other altar boys at his parents' Miami-Dade home.

He said he awoke to find the priest fondling him.

His complaint is the latest of five current sex-abuse suits lodged against priests who have worked in the Archdiocese of Miami since 1970.

The suit comes one day after Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle asked the archdiocese to provide her with all allegations of child abuse by clergy members regardless of a settlement agreement or not.

The Archdiocese of Miami has negotiated numerous secret settlements with individuals who claim they were sexually abused by priests. Miami-Dade prosecutors say they cannot find any instances where the archdiocese forwarded them complaints of sexual abuse allegations.

Last week, the archdiocese suspended two South Florida priests, the Revs. Ricardo Castellanos and Alvaro Guichard, who deny the allegations. A former Miami altar boy sued them and the archdiocese, alleging they molested him in the early 1970s.

On Friday, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese declined comment.

In the latest suit, Doe claims the archdiocese shipped Carrera shortly after the alleged abuse from Our Lady of Divine Providence in Sweetwater to a foreign assignment "to avoid public scandal."

The 1980 Official Catholic Directory listed Carrera as a priest at Our Lady parish visiting from Spain.

Doe, a Miami salesman and father of three, claims the archdiocese was negligent and the priest caused him emotional, physical and psychological damage.

Friday's lawsuit against Carrera marks the second time that Our Lady of Divine Providence has been linked to clergy sex abuse.

In 1989, the church's then-pastor, Ernesto Garcia-Rubio, was transferred to Honduras following allegations that he sexually abused four teenage refugees from Central America. Prosecutors never filed charges because the alleged victims denied they were molested, according to a Miami-Dade state attorney's report.

The latest molestation suit, filed by attorneys Patrick Noaker and Russell Adler in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, claims the archdiocese sent Carrera to a foreign assignment "to obstruct justice" and "avoid liability."

"This case is about a family who trusted their priest and even offered him assistance by inviting him to stay in their home," said Noaker. "Unfortunately, this predator took advantage of their trust and used the opportunity to molest a child."

Noaker is with the St. Paul, Minn., law firm Reinhardt and Anderson, headed by Jeff Anderson, who has filed hundreds of clergy sex-abuse lawsuits.

The Miami case claims Carerra's sexual misconduct and the archdiocese's "concealment" of it caused the former altar boy to develop "psychological coping mechanisms" of guilt, shame and depression.

On Friday, the ex-altar boy told The Herald that Carrera arrived from Spain to help out at Our Lady of Divine Providence and quickly made friends with his family.

Carrera eventually asked the boy's mother if he could move into a spare bedroom at her home for a few months because he was unhappy living at Our Lady's rectory, the ex-altar boy said.

That's when he claims the abuse began.

"We were at the planetarium and it was dark," he said. "And he reached over and started rubbing me."

Doe said he didn't tell his parents about the abuse while he was a child because he was afraid. "I told my wife, and she's the only person I ever told, because I'm not embarrassed to tell her anything. My parents were hard-core Catholics. My mother still is."

Despite his trauma, Doe said he wants his children to grow up Catholic. "I have three children that are practicing Catholics,," he said. "I wanted to give them [my religion] so they'd have something to fall back on. But it's gone for me."

 
 

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