Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Carmel on the Case: Priest Abuse
For the first time, a South Florida man who is suing the Catholic Church for sexual abuse is making his identity public. His father is asking the Vatican to look into how the matter is being handled here. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
WSVN -- Twenty-four-year-old David Barroso grew up in the arms of the Catholic Church, but you won't find him at mass anymore.
David Barroso: "I have zero faith. It's gone. My faith left me a long time ago."
Barroso says when he was 17-years-old and working in the office of St. Timothy's church in Southwest Miami-Dade, he was touched sexually by Father Rolando Castillo. He's filed a lawsuit.
David Barroso: "And I would always wish in my mind that that was it, and then the next day again and the day after that and the day after that."
David says he didn't come forward at the time because he was afraid his dad, St. Timothy's music teacher, would lose his job.
David Barroso: "Because it was insinuated when this was taking place that that was a possibility, and I was afraid people were going to get the wrong idea about me."
David Barroso: "Father would say, 'How long has your dad been working here?'"
Luis Barroso, who is still teaching music at St. Timothy's, says his son has suffered.
Luis Barroso: "And I want the congregation to know I am 100 percent behind my son. My son has been through hell."
Father Castillo voluntarily stepped down when the lawsuit was filed, but Luis doesn't think the Archdiocese of Miami has handled the situation well. He has written this letter asking the Vatican to investigate saying: "Not one of them has approached me in any way, shape or form to provide some consolment."
Luis Barroso: "The only public thing that has been made to the congregation is when the bishop comes in and says, 'Father Castillo will be coming back soon."
The Vatican hasn't responded, but the Archdiocese has.
It's spokesperson thinks the criticism is unfair.
Mary Ross Agosta: "We did offer pastoral care and psychological counseling to the victim, which he has accepted, so we have an alleged victim who is under psychological care, which the Archdiocese is paying for."
And she says Luis Barroso has been offered help by a local priest.
Mary Ross Agosta: "And the priest at that time extended his concern and said, 'What can we do for you, what can we do for you?' and the father's answer was, 'Please just pray for me.'"
Meanwhile, the Archdiocese and Father Castillo's attorney say he has taken and passed a polygraph test.
In a statement, attorney Jonathan Goodman writes the "... allegations of sexual abuse against Father Castillo are false."
Carmel Cafiero: "The courts ultimately will decide what, if any, unholy acts took place at St. Timothy's, but clearly the suffering extends beyond the accused priest and his alleged victim."
Luis Barroso: "I'm mad, I'm hurt and then Sunday after Sunday I hear gossip, which I shouldn't care about, but I do. It's my son. It's a stab."
Despite it all, Luis Barrosa says he has not lost faith.
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