Priest Accused of Sex Abuse
Suit Claims Archdiocese Covered up Abuse

Local 10
October 26, 2007

MIAMI — A former altar boy is suing the Archdiocese of Miami, claiming a priest sexually abused him when he was a teenager.

The suit claims Rev. Rolando Castillo molested the unidentified plaintiff at St. Timothy Catholic Church in Southwest Miami-Dade in 2001. The plaintiff was 17 at time; he is now 23 years old.

"When it first started happening, I felt very ashamed and

embarrased," the man said.

The suit claims the Miami Archdiocese covered up the abuse. On Friday, the Archdiocese said in a statement that Castillo has denied the allegations, but he has temporarily decided to step down from his duties as pastor.

The statement released Friday stated:

"The Archdiocese of Miami has learned of an allegation of sexual abuse made against Father Rolando Castillo, pastor of St. Timothy Catholic Church in Miami.

The Archdiocese takes any allegation seriously and, as stated in our policy, we report the allegations to the State Attorney's Office, start the process of healing and reconciliation for the alleged victim and accused and present all the information to the Archdiocesan Review Board.

The Archdiocese has never received any report of misconduct regarding Father Castillo. Because every accusation against a priest requires an investigation to determine credibility, Father Castillo, while denying the allegation, has decided to temporarily step down from his duties as pastor and has asked for his parishioners' prayers for a prompt resolution.

The Archdiocese of Miami once again asks if anyone has been a victim of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy or church personnel to come forward by contacting the Archdiocese's Victims Assistance Coordinator 1-866-802-2873 or contact your local law enforcement department."

The lawsuit is seeking $10 million in damages. It also alleges more cover ups in other cases by the archdiocese. Jerry Herman, the attorney representing the alleged victim, said that he believes documents have been destroyed regarding allegations of abuse.

Herman said the latest case is one of at least 50 cases he has brought against the Archdiocese of Miami alleging sexual abuse.

The alleged victim said he decided to tell his story now because he fears there may be more potential victims.

"Knowing now that I'm older, that this could be going on with other victims, it just doesn't seem right to let it slide like I was before," he said.


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