Second Former Altar Boy Sues Hialeah Priest of Sexual Abuse
By Laura Morales
November 29, 2006
Sexual abuse allegations against the Rev. Gustavo Miyares have emerged again in a second lawsuit filed by a former altar boy who claims the priest molested him in the early 1980s.
Another former altar boy has filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County claiming that the Rev. Gustavo Miyares, a Hialeah Catholic priest, sexually abused him in the early 1980s.
The suit is the second in as many months against Miyares, who resigned last month from his post at Hialeah's Immaculate Conception Church.
In the first suit, a former altar boy accused Miyares and the Rev. Pedro Jove of fondling and raping him while attending a summer camp in 1981 at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach.
In the latest suit, a 35-year-old Collier County man who did not want to be identified said Miyares touched him inappropriately and that the abuse continued for more than three years when he was an altar boy at St. Timothy Catholic Church.
Named as defendants: the Archdiocese of Miami and Archbishop John Favalora. Archdiocese officials, in a statement Tuesday, said they were unaware of the latest allegations.
"There were no prior allegations or information to indicate Father Miyares did or would engage in any type of inappropriate or abusive behavior," the statement said.
"It is a sad day when the Catholic Church learns of someone who has been an alleged victim of sexual abuse. We again apologize to this alleged victim and pray that his journey to healing may begin," the statement said.
Miyares, who could not be reached for comment, was not among the priests purged by the archdiocese following the 2002 nationwide abuse scandal. There had been no complaints in his file at the time.
At a press conference Tuesday in front of St. Timothy, the latest alleged victim said he chose to come forward after learning of last month's lawsuit by the former altar boy known as "John Doe No. 25."
"I hope it will help other children to come forward," he said, his voice cracking. "I've been hiding all my life and it's destroyed me and my family. I can't hide anymore.
"He needs help," he said of Miyares.
His attorney, Jeffrey Herman, of Aventura, said Miyares had abused his client by taking advantage of the boy's interest in becoming a priest. "Father Miyares did unspeakable things to [the] young [boy], telling him that those were the things he had to do to become a priest," Herman said.
Herman then produced his client's 1985 confirmation certificate and an old, yellowed photograph of his client in his altar-boy robes. The alleged victim currently lives in Collier County with his wife and 12-year-old daughter.
Miyares, who has been a staple at Immaculate Conception Church for the past 15 years, agreed to resign Oct. 6, after learning of the first lawsuit alleging he sexually assaulted the boy in the 1980s.
"For many years I have been deeply plagued by the events," Miyares wrote in a letter last month to parishioners at Hialeah's Immaculate Conception Church.
"I prayed for God's guidance. The only conclusion that I could reach was that I had to be true to Christ, my priesthood, and you, my beloved community, and explain to all concerned my sincere regret and repentence for any pain brought on by errors of judgement that I have made," wrote Miyares.
Miami Herald staff writer Jay Weaver contributed to this report.
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