Priest Says Accuser's Attorney Defamed Him

By Jay Weaver
Miami Herald [Miami FL]
January 31, 2006

A Catholic priest suspended by the Archdiocese of Miami because of sexual-abuse allegations has filed a defamation lawsuit against an attorney representing one of his accusers.

The Rev. Alvaro Guichard, 65, claims lawyer Jeffrey Herman defamed him at a Sept. 22, 2004, press conference, when the attorney announced settlements of several sex-abuse lawsuits against the archdiocese -- some involving Guichard.

Herman recently moved to dismiss Guichard's defamation suit, filed in November in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

Herman allowed Guichard to stay at the press conference after Guichard crashed the gathering at Herman's Aventura law office. An ensuing confrontation nearly resulted in fisticuffs between Guichard and the brother of one of the priest's alleged victims.

The priest alleges the attorney defamed him when Herman said "you raped and sodomized their family member."

"Do you think it's a coincidence that four separate individuals accused you of sexual abuse?" Herman asked Guichard.

"All your lawsuits are false," Guichard fired back.

Last year, Herman filed a fifth lawsuit against the archdiocese in which he accused Guichard of sexually abusing a Mariel boatlift refugee.

The archdiocese settled all five negligence suits with Herman for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"This [defamation] suit creates an opportunity to publicly litigate the claims even though the Archdiocese of Miami already settled the lawsuits," Herman said.

Guichard, on paid administrative leave, has refused to retire, insisting that church leaders hold a canon tribunal to determine his fate.


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