Girl Sues Diocese, Catholic School in Jupiter over Abuse Allegations

By Jane Musgrave
Palm Beach Post
September 17, 2020

An attorney who is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and now represents other victims is accusing the Catholic Diocese of Palm Beach and a school in Jupiter of protecting the son of wealthy donors from molestation allegations.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday in Palm Beach County Circuit Court, attorney Michael Dolce said the principal of All Saints Catholic School punished an 11-year-old girl — who claimed a classmate fondled her — instead of investigating her allegations.

Principal Jill Broz was “motivated out of a desire to extend undue favor to the Abusive Peer because his parents are long-time and repeated substantial financial donors to the school itself and several charities connected to the Diocese of Palm Beach,” Dolce wrote in the lawsuit.

The girl’s allegations, which prompted a Jupiter police investigation, were never addressed by Broz or others at the small K-8 school on Indian Creek Parkway, Dolce said.

Instead, Broz suspended the girl from school for a day and forced her to write an essay after the sixth-grader lashed out against the boy on social media, Dolce said.

Then, in an excruciating betrayal, Broz shared the girl’s intensely personal essay with other parents at the school, according to the lawsuit. When the girl arrived at school after giving Broz her essay, the most intimate details of her life had become fodder for gossip among her middle school classmates, he said.

Dolce, who successfully pushed to lift the statute of limitations on sex offenses that he claims has protected Catholic priests and others from prosecution, said the school’s handling of the situation isn’t typical.

“I’m seeing a pattern of behavior that they give special treatment to students whose parents give money to the diocese or the school,” said Dolce, who has reviewed how the school handled other allegations.

A spokeswoman for the diocese said it doesn't comment on pending litigation. Broz didn't respond to an email seeking comment. To protect her privacy, the girl and her parents are identified only by her initials. The boy is only identified as “the abusive peer.”

The girl was sent into an emotional tailspin — first by the molestation and then by having her classmates learn the most private details of her life, Dolce said.

The school failed her in many ways, he said. First, according to the lawsuit, the molestation occurred several times between January and March after a teacher left the classroom unattended.

The girl’s allegations were reported to police after she confided in a friend, who told an adult, Dolce said. The adult notified the state’s Child Abuse Hotline, which forwarded the information to police.

However, when police tried to interview the boy, Broz protected him, Dolce said. She told them the youth wouldn’t talk to police without his lawyer present, according to the suit.

While police continued to investigate the incident, their report wasn’t immediately available.

The girl withdrew from All Saints, is attending another school and is in therapy, Dolce said. The boy she accused is still a student at All Saints, he said. Others have been expelled for far less serious allegations, he said.

Dolce is seeking an unspecified amount in damages from the school, the diocese and from Broz to compensate the girl for emotional trauma that likely will haunt her for the rest of her life.

The principal’s behavior was inexplicable, Dolce said. “She committed emotional child abuse,” he said. “It’s disturbing that she would have behaved this recklessly.”

It also sent a chilling message to other children. Why, he asked, would a child report sexual abuse allegations if they were going to be punished, ridiculed and shunned?









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