Priest-Sex Suit Makes Dad Pariah

By Douglas Montero and Rod Dreher
New York Post
June 28, 2001

A BRONX man says he and his family were treated like outcasts by Catholic Church leaders and fellow parishioners after he claimed that four priests had molested his teenage son.

The father, a scripture-quoting Catholic who still holds fast to his faith, told The Post he tried for months to get church officials to do something about the situation before filing a lawsuit last year.

As The Post reported last week, the suit charges that priests Ruben Rodriguez, Esteban Rodriguez, James Tamburrino and John Albino offered the man's teenage son money for sexual favors between 1996 and 1999.

The suit, which seeks unspecified damages from the archdiocese, the Carmelite Friars and St. Simon Stock parish, charges that the boy was "sexually violated, touched in an unwanted sexual manner, and sexually fondled" by the clergymen.

The priests have filed papers denying the charge.

The dad, a 49-year-old factory worker, said he filed the suit only after he was convinced it was the only way to get the church to make sure the accused clerics, three Carmelites and a diocesan priest, were treated for their "illness" and kept away from other children.

Whenever he went to a church official, he said, he got only a runaround.

"I didn't want to damage the church," said the father, whose name is being withheld by The Post to protect the identity of his son, who is now 22.

"I wanted [the church] to address the issue, [to] discipline those who were responsible," he said. "All they did was take them out of one parish and put them in another."

He reached out to people in his parish. Instead of getting help, he was tossed off the parish council.

Mass-goers refused to acknowledge his family during the liturgical sign of peace, and turned away from them on the street. He said no one from the parish or the archdiocese ever called to offer spiritual assistance.

"This had a profound and painful effect on my family that I feel will be with us for many, many years," he said.

The dad said his faith in Jesus Christ hasn't been shaken by the experience. In fact, he has embraced his religion even more strongly.

"It's simple, I'll just be like [Jesus]," he said. "I'll fight against this injustice."

Meanwhile, Monsignor John McCarthy, pastor of St. Patrick's parish in Staten Island, where Albino had been transferred, has told the archdiocese that the priest went on vacation after The Post story broke.

The whereabouts and official status of the other accused clerics, all Carmelites, could not be determined. The order's lawyers did not return calls for comment.

Ramon Alvarez, a friend of the father and now president of the parish council, said that when news of the charges first hit, the dad "was getting harassing phone calls at all hours of the night.

"It's a shame the way that man suffered."


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