Broward Ex-Priest Accused of Abuse Presses for Reinstatement

By Nicole White
Miami Herald
September 28, 2006

A lawsuit against a former Catholic priest accused of sexually molesting two Broward parishioners almost a decade ago has been dismissed. He wants to be reinstated by the church.

A former Catholic priest accused of sexual abuse by two former parishioners at a Broward church wants the Archdiocese of Miami to reinstate him, arguing that he was never charged with a crime and that the victims dropped a lawsuit against him.

"The archdiocese unjustly took away my good name, my life of priesthood and carried out my character assassination," said the Rev. Jan Malicki, 57, at a news conference in the Miami office of his attorney, Ellis Rubin.


Archdiocese officials rejected Malicki's claims, saying the matter ended last year when the church reached a settlement with the two women.

One woman received more than $500,000 in one of the largest settlements paid in South Florida involving a Catholic clergy sex-abuse case. The other woman received less than $500,000 in the same suit.

Attorneys representing the two female parishioners said their clients chose not to pursue the case because they wanted to move on with their lives following eight years of litigation.

"They took their case all the way up to the Supreme Court of Florida and made law that is now protecting other victims of clergy abuse," said attorneys William Shinur and May Cain in a prepared statement.

'In settling with the archdiocese for the largest sum ever paid by it in this type of litigation, our clients' claims have been validated. Father Malicki will ultimately answer to a higher authority. There can be no greater justice."


The Malicki suit became a Florida Supreme Court test case because the archdiocese tried to argue that the First Amendment protected it from responsibility for clergy misconduct. The high court ruled that the archdiocese was not constitutionally protected from the suit, which claimed negligent hiring and supervision of Malicki.

The allegations against Malicki first surfaced in 1998, months after Malicki had been transferred from St. David Catholic Church in Davie -- where he served as associate pastor from 1994 to 1997 -- to St. Epiphany Catholic Church in Miami.

The archdiocese held a press conference revealing the allegations and announcing his imminent arrest. The arrest never happened.


Relations between Malicki and the archdiocese grew so strained that they ended up in court when he sued the archdiocese for defamation. A Miami judge in 2003 dismissed the complaint.

Malicki says the original allegations against him emerged soon after he alerted church officials to parishioners' claims that another priest at the church was an alcoholic.

Asked about Malicki's new claims, spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said: "It's been so long, it's not feasible at this point to respond to that."

Malicki says he will consider legal action against the women.

'Finally, I can start now to fight back against those who hurt me so much. I would like to say to them, 'May God have mercy on you.' "

In the interim, he wants the church to reinstate his duties, an unlikely event, Ross Agosta said.


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