Sex abuse lawsuit filed against Archdiocese of Miami

May 21, 2015

[with video]

PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. (WSVN) -- An alarming allegation has surfaced against the Archdiocese of Miami, after a lawsuit was filed claiming they covered up sexual abuse by a priest nearly 20 years ago.

A man said he was molested when he was a teen, back in the '80s, but instead of taking action at the time, the alleged victim claims, the Archdiocese reassigned the priest to another church and was not charged with criminal charges. The South Florida man, going by the name John Doe, said he could not stay quiet after keeping it in for so long.

The alleged victim addressed a lawsuit he filed this week. "I've held this inside for 27 years," the victim said. "I just needed to come out ... I went to New York two months and 20 days ago, and I thought about it, and a few things triggered it and I'm changed."

The crime allegedly happened at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, dating back to 1989. The alleged victim said he was 14 years old when the priest at the church would call him into his residence and molest them. "This was his thing, his M.O. apparently was that he would get the boys to take their clothes off, wrestle with them and then molest them," said attorney Jeff Herman.

The victim said he reported the incident to his mother, and they called police. According to the alleged victim, there was an investigation. However, instead of removing the priest entirely, he was moved to another church, St. Pius X Catholic Church, in Fort Lauderdale.

The alleged victim said he's coming forward 27 years later because he was triggered by his memories. "I feel like my whole world has been turned upside down. I have anxiety attacks, panic attacks, I'm having bad nightmares," he said.

According to the Archdiocese of Miami, there was an investigation and they received a letter from the mayor of Pembroke Pines at the time clearing the priest. In a statement, they said, "The City of Pembroke Pines Police Department has been investigating these accusations. Our Police Chief, John Lombardo, has informed me that the police department's investigation has been completed with no evidence of criminal wrongdoings."

Herman announced the civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Miami for this instance of sexual abuse against the then 14-year-old. However, according to the complaint, the priest sexually abused several boys during his time at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church. The priest has been serving as a pastor at St. Pius X Catholic Church and retired last year.

The victim said the priest should never be around children again. "I just don't want anyone else to get hurt or to feel how I have felt," he said.

The Archdiocese said if this is a separate incident, other than the one that has already been investigated, they will reopen the case.


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