Victim speaks after priest allegedly abused him
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- The Archdiocese of Miami is trying not to lose faith in one of its priests after more disturbing allegations were revealed against him.
Father Rolando Garcia from St. Agatha Catholic Church has been accused of sexually abusing three different boys in the 1980s.
A man has come forward to say one of his friends was abused by another priest, and said that Father Garcia paid the boy to cover it up. "I'm upset. This man is preaching to hundreds of people out there, and he's wearing a mask ... he abused me, and he's continued to do it to other children," said the victim only identified as "John Doe."
The victim said, "He's was paying me to keep quiet when Christobal de Jesus Puertas was raping me."
The victim's attorney, Jeff Herman, said, "If that's true, that fact in itself, in my opinion, makes Father Garcia unsafe to be around children."
The victim who spoke out has already settled his case against Father Garcia. "I was being paid to not talk about it. That was their response, and they continue to do it to other people that settled, like they say, and he's still there. So what did they settle? Nothing," said the victim.
Parents are wondering why Father Garcia is still working for the church.
In response, the Archdiocese of Miami issued the following statement on Thursday:
"Today, Mr. Jeffrey Herman has provided information to the media that must be clarified.
During today's news conference, Jeffrey Herman produced a lawsuit that was filed in December 2010 by another attorney regarding alleged abuse by Fr. Cristobal Puertas, assigned to St. Agatha Catholic Church. In that 2010 lawsuit, at point #21, it is stated that the alleged victim's "allegations were concealed and covered up by at least Fr. Garcia and the Archdiocese."
Mr. Herman is quoting from the 2010 lawsuit; however, what Mr. Herman has failed to reveal is the outcome of the 2010 lawsuit. The victim, during the investigation, stated that he never reported the abuse to anyone; in addition, the allegations regarding Fr. Garcia were found to be inaccurate. There was a settlement involving Fr. Puertas who is no longer a priest in the Archdiocese of Miami but no settlement involving Fr. Garcia.
There are two other issues to be clarified today to the media, again due to incomplete facts from Mr. Herman. In 2004, Mr. Herman brought a lawsuit against the Archdiocese at which time Fr. Garcia was named along with numerous other priests. Mr. Herman knows that when that lawsuit was settled, all allegations against Fr. Garcia were deemed not credible. Accordingly, the agreement reached with Mr. Herman at that time specifically identified that none of the settlement funds were related to accusations against Fr. Garcia.
In 2006 Mr. Herman brought another lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Miami and Fr. Garcia. The alleged victim could not identify his alleged abuser and wrote a letter for all attorneys involved, including his own attorney, Mr. Herman, stating this fact.
It appears that Mr. Herman chooses not to disclose to the media all of the facts."
Mary Ross Agosta
Director of Communications
Archdiocese of Miami
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