Ex-Altar Boy Alleges Priest Abused Him

By Noaki Schwartz
Sun-Sentinel [Fort Lauderdale FL]
May 21, 2002

Intending to highlight the importance of Catholicism in Hispanic culture, attorneys who filed a lawsuit against a priest who worked at a Sweetwater parish in the 1980s chose to call their plaintiff Juan MJ Doe.

"In Hispanic culture, the Catholic Church plays a more powerful role," said Patrick W. Noaker, who with Russell Adler in Fort Lauderdale are representing Juan Doe. "Religion was the central experience of this family."

Now 35 years old, the former altar boy has become a father with two children of his own. And as decisions about whether or not to raise them Catholic surfaced, the father started confronting his past, Noaker explained. After more than two decades Doe decided to file a lawsuit against the man who he claims sexually abused him during the 1980s when he was 14 years old.

The lawsuit, filed Friday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, claims the Rev. Francisco Carrera molested the boy while working at Our Lady of Divine Providence Church in west Miami-Dade County.

The "family welcomed this priest in their home, let him stay over night, gave him money and truly supported him," Noaker said. The lawsuit is asking for more than $15,000.

The Miami Archdiocese is also named in the lawsuit for removing Carrera, who was from Spain, and giving him "an assignment outside the United States" when leaders learned of the abuse, documents say. The lawsuit said the archdiocese did this in order "to obstruct justice, avoid public scandal, avoid loss of financial contributions and criminal and civil liability."

Mary Ross Agosta, spokeswoman for the Miami Archdiocese, is out of town, and Carrera could not be reached for comment This is not the first time the church in Sweetwater has been embroiled in sexual abuse allegations. In 1988, then-Rev. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio was accused of abusing Nicaraguan refugee boys he sheltered in his rectory. The archdiocese made the priest go through a full psychiatric evaluation, and at least one of the boys was counseled and placed at its Boys Town home, according to reports in the Sun-Sentinel. The priest took an extended leave of absence and eventually surfaced as a missionary in Honduras. By the early 1990s, Garcia-Rubio was working a secular job at a hotel in the Dominican Republic.


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