Lawsuit filed against Archdiocese of Miami in sexual assault case

By Amanda Batchelor
Local 10
May 20, 2015


A lawsuit was filed against the Archdiocese of Miami Tuesday by a man who claims he was sexually assaulted by a priest in 1989.

The alleged victim is seeking damages in excess of $5 million.

The complaint alleges that the archdiocese allowed Father Harry Ringenberger to continue serving as a priest despite being told that he had sexually assaulted a 14-year-old boy.

It's unclear whether any criminal charges were ever filed against Ringenberger.

According to the complaint, the Archdiocese "sent Father Ringenberger away for approximately one year, (and) then assigned him to a new parish within the Archdiocese of Miami."

At the time, Ringenberger was working at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Pembroke Pines, and most recently was working at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Fort Lauderdale.

The victim, identified as "John Doe," claims Ringenberger took off his clothes and wrestled with the boy at his home in the St. Maximilian church rectory. He said he was then sexually assaulted.

The complaint states, "The sexual abuse included Ringenberger having John lay on top of him, while Ringenberger rubbed his penis against John's until Ringenberger  ejaculated.

The complaint alleged that Ringenberger also sexually assaulted numerous other children, many of whom had "similar stories of being molested under the guise of wrestling."

The lawsuit states that the Archdiocese breached its fiduciary duty to John by failing to "disclose its awareness of facts regarding Ringenberger that created a likely potential for harm," and "disclose its own negligence with regard to supervision and retention of Ringenberger," among other things.

Local 10 News has requested a comment from the archdiocese and is awaiting a response.



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