Woman Suing Archdiocese, Claiming Sexual Abuse

By Dionne Anglin [San Antonio TX]
February 25, 2005

A 56-year-old Florida woman is suing the Archdiocese of San Antonio, claiming she was sexually abused.

The lawsuit reveals some startling allegations involving a priest.

Judy Rakestraw of Miami said the alleged abuse began at St. John the Evangelist School about 40 years ago.

In her lawsuit, Rakestraw says Father Myron Suize, who worked at the school as a teacher and volleyball coach, repeatedly fondled her over a period of three years, and at one point, attempted to rape her.

"The abuse our client sustained was so traumatic, that it was only within the last few years, as a result of on-going psychotherapy that she recovered her memory," said Adam Horowitz, Rakestraw's attorney. "Our client is a very brave woman; she's actually the head of a survivors' group of victims in Miami. She's made the decision to sue in her own name, because as head of the survivors' group, she's come across so many victims that she wants to send a message to the Catholic Church."

The archdiocese has responded only in general to the lawsuit.

"This kind of thing is regretful and always concerns us. We hope to find out more in the very near future," Deacon Pat Rodgers said in a statement to KENS 5.

The archdiocese legal counsel has yet to receive a copy of the lawsuit, and Father Suize reportedly lives in California and is in poor health.

As for the amount asked for in the lawsuit, Rakestraw's attorney says the damages are unspecified in the case; that they want a jury to decide if and what Rakestraw would receive.