|Coral Springs Parent Sues Archdiocese of Miami in Alleged Molestation Case
By Jaweed Kaleem
October 28, 2010
A Coral Springs woman who says a former music teacher at a Broward County Catholic school molested her son is suing the Archdiocese of Miami.
In a complaint filed Wednesday in Miami-Dade circuit court, the woman, identified only as Mother Doe No. 68, says her son, John Doe No. 68, was molested several times between 2009 and August of this year during private music lessons in his home by Miguel Cala, who also taught him at St. Andrew's Catholic School in Coral Springs.
"Cala used his position at the church and school to find victims. The parents trusted Cala and he used that trust to get into parent's homes," said Jeffrey Herman, an attorney representing the 8-year-old boy and his mother. "The school employed Cala and the school and church should have known what was happening."
The lawsuit alleges Cala, who taught at the school for several years and was a music minister at St. Andrew's church before being arrested on child molestation charges last month, told the boy "that's how men hug" while abusing him.
Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said Wednesday that Cala went through several background checks before and during his employment at St. Andrew's school.
"The archdiocese, in every school, does its due diligence as far as background checks on teachers and all volunteers. Any parent that wants to work the carnival or chaperone, they are all background-checked prior to being able to participate. The parents all have … training" to know how to spot and report signs of abuse, she added, "and there was nothing in Cala's background check to suspect that an activity like this would occur."
Cala, who resigned for unspecified reasons from St. Andrew's school in May, is in jail awaiting trial on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation of a victim under 12 years of age and lewd or lascivious conduct. He was arrested Sept. 3, when he turned himself in to police in Virginia after leaving South Florida when the charges were filed in August.
The charges that led to Cala's arrest were related to a St. Andrew's student who was allegedly molested during an off-campus tutoring session in August.
Herman said Tuesday that he represents an additional victim that Cala allegedly abused.
According to Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Dani Moschella, only one victim has alleged abuse by Cala, which is what led to his arrest.
"We believe there are additional victims, but no one has come forward at this point," Moschella said.
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