Ex-Altar Boy Says Miami Archbishop Kept Abuse Quiet

Associated Press State & Local Wire [Miami]
June 21, 2003

A former archbishop of Miami "coerced" an altar boy to keep quiet about repeated sexual abuse by a priest at a group home for troubled boys nearly 30 years ago, a lawsuit filed by the alleged victim claims.

The victim, now 41, said he was abused from the age of 12 to 14 by the Rev. Joseph Huck on a fishing trip, in a gym and at other locations while living at the archdiocese's Boystown complex west of Miami, according to the lawsuit filed Friday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court.

The man, who filed the suit under the pseudonym John Doe, said he told Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy of the abuse when the cleric visited and reported the abuse to two other priests but got no help. The suit said McCarthy said he had heard the abuse rumor but warned him against saying such things about a priest.

"The abuse continued even after he reported it to church officials," said the man's attorney, Jeffrey Herman. "This is one of the clearest cases of gross negligence because there is evidence of direct knowledge by the archdiocese and a complete failure on their behalf to protect this boy."

Mary Ross Agosta, spokeswoman for the diocese, said she had no comment on the lawsuit.

"Until our attorneys have seen the lawsuit, it's not appropriate for me to comment on any aspect of the case," she said. "Time and time again, the archdiocese is the last to know about the lawsuits and is expected to be the first one to comment."

McCarthy, 85, was unavailable for comment because of poor health, said Agosta. McCarthy, who headed the archdiocese from 1976 to 1993, suffers from dementia and heart problems, according to court records.

Huck, 60, who retired to Ormond Beach, has an unlisted number and could not be reached for comment Saturday. He was ordained in 1969 in Miami and retired as pastor of Our Lady Queen of Heaven in North Lauderdale in May 2002 after serving in several Miami-Dade County parishes.

"We take every allegation seriously," Agosta said. "The archdiocese will do an internal investigation."


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