Man Says Priests Abused Him, Sues Miami Archdiocese

Associated Press, carried in Herald-Tribune
October 17, 2006

Miami, Fla. -- A man who claims he was sexually abused by two priests in the 1980s sued the Archdiocese of Miami for negligence and concealing the abuse, his attorney said Tuesday.

The 39-year-old man identified as John Doe No. 25 said he met the priests, Rev. Gustavo Miyares and the Rev. Pedro Jove, at a summer camp at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach when he was 14, the lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court said.

"These priests took an interest in him and began to groom him," Jeffrey Herman, the accuser's attorney was reported as saying by The Miami Herald. "Ultimately, they invited him to their rooms. They gave him alcohol. Eventually that led to sexual abuse."

The alleged abuse took place at the camp, the priests' rectory and a condominium in the Keys, Herman said.

The archdiocese was notified about the abuse in a letter received on Oct. 4 from the victim, a former South Florida resident, who no longer lives in the state.

"An archdiocese official flew to the home state and met with the victim and his wife and offered psychological and pastoral counseling," Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said. "We again apologize to this victim and pray that his journey to healing may begin. We are grateful that he has come forward."

Miyares, 59, resigned immediately as pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. He has lost his faculties to function publicly as a priest or wear his clerical collar, she said.

Jove, 59, is no longer a priest. He runs Alliance for Aging, a nonprofit Miami-Dade agency for senior citizens. He would not comment on the allegations until he reviewed the evidence and talked with an attorney.

"I need to see where this goes," Jove told The Miami Herald.

Herman also released a statement written by his client.

"I spent so much time running away from my past and things that happened to me," the statement said. "So I'm done running, and I'm taking back control of my life."

The lawsuit claims church officials "actively took steps to conceal the abuse."

Herman said it was likely church authorities knew of the alleged abuse much earlier, but Agosta said the archdiocese did not know about it until being contacted by the victim.

A telephone call made by The Associated Press to Herman's office was not immediately returned Tuesday night.

Miyares is a popular priest in the Cuban exile community.

Telephone messages left by the AP for people with the same names as the two priests were not immediately returned.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.