Diocese Asks Judge to Dismiss Lawsuit Involving Former Central Catholic Priest

By Holly Herman
Reading Eagle
September 24, 2010

The Rev. Luis A. Bonilla

The Allentown Diocese has asked a Berks County judge to dismiss a lawsuit that accuses the diocese of failing to prevent a former Central Catholic High School priest from impregnating a 19-year-old.

The teen's parents filed the suit last month, alleging the diocese allowed the Rev. Luis A. Bonilla Margarito to have sexual relations with their daughter while he was chaplain at the high school and their daughter was a senior.

Joseph F. Leeson Jr., a Bethlehem attorney for the diocese, said the baby was conceived in October or November 2009 - at least seven months after the teen's 18th birthday on March 3, 2009.

"The mother and stepfather without the cooperation of their adult daughter have asserted multiple causes of action against the defendants," Leeson said.

Leeson said the parents, whose names are being withheld by the Reading Eagle, have no standing to pursue the suit.

Jay N. Abramowitch, the parents' Wyomissing lawyer, said the diocese files legal objections in all abuse cases.

The parents are seeking more than $300,000 for emotional distress and negligence. Senior Judge Albert A. Stallone has not yet set a hearing.

Diocese spokeman Matthew Kerr said steps have been taken to defrock Bonilla.

The teen now lives with Bonilla, 41, in Norristown.

According to the suit:

The teen became acquainted with Bonilla during the 2008-09 school year. The parents said they became aware she was spending too much time with Bonilla and they reported it to school officials. The parents said no action was taken.

The parents hid a video camera in their basement and in November 2009 it recorded the teen having sex with Bonilla. The parents reported the contents of the video to the diocese, and Bonilla was removed from his assignments and placed in a treatment program.

Contact Holly Herman: 610-478-6291 or


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