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  Fourth Lawsuit Filed against Suspended Priest

By Noaki Schwartz
Sun-Sentinel [Fort Lauderdale FL]
June 29, 2002

A fourth former altar boy has filed suit against suspended TV evangelist Rev. Ricardo Castellanos.

The suit filed Friday in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court by a John Doe also names suspended priest Rev. Jose Nickse and the Miami Archdiocese. The man, now in his mid-30s, alleges that the two priests molested him at St. Brendan Catholic Church in Miami.

Cocoa-based attorney Sheldon Stevens said his client was "inappropriately touched" by Castellanos from 1979 to the early 1980s and by Nickse from the spring of 1982 through early fall of the same year. The boy complained about Nickse to other priests on several occasions, once during confessional, but no action was taken, Stevens said.

The priests told John Doe that making such claims against a priest was sinful and that no one would believe him, Stevens said. John Doe was simply advised to protect himself by avoiding Nickse, the attorney added.

"He's been living with this for a lot of years," Stevens said, adding that he has had many years of counseling.

Stevens initially told the archdiocese about his client and the allegations three weeks ago, prompting the archdiocese to suspend Nickse. When the situation could not be resolved out of court, Stevens' client decided to file the suit anonymously.

"He has a family and relatives who don't know about this," said Stevens, explaining why his client chose anonymity. "He's just learning to cope with it himself."

Mary Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, had yet to see the lawsuit but said Friday, "We take every allegation seriously, and an investigation will be conducted."

This is the fourth lawsuit filed against Castellanos in recent months, all claiming the priest molested boys during the 1970s and through the late 1980s. One suit claims Castellanos abused Jose Albino Currias Jr. "on almost a daily basis" from 1971 to 1974. The second alleges Castellanos abused Miguel Chinchilla, an altar boy at Church of the Little Flower, from 1975 to 1977. And three weeks ago Kenneth Matias filed suit claiming the priest in 1989 masturbated while fondling the boy as he slept.

Noaki Schwartz can be reached at nschwartz@sun-sentinel.com or 305-810-5004.

 
 

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