Man speaks out about priest's alleged abuse
SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla. (WSVN) -- More allegations have come to light against a South Florida priest accused of committing sins against teenage boys.
"People do care," said Tony Simmons, "and all the tragic things that have happened to them, no it's not OK, but it is OK to speak out."
Simmons wants you to see his face even though, in a lawsuit he filed, he claims he was sexually abused by Father Rolando Garcia. Simmons said he is an Iraqi war veteran who was stationed overseas since 2003 and only recently came forward. "We're the outcast," said Simmons. "Our families have turned us down, we weren't credible as far as law enforcement goes, so it was pretty much like a candy store. They come in unquestioned, take us out for the weekend, party, and as long as we were back on time, we were good."
The lawsuit said Simmons met Garcia when he was 16 after he ran away from home. The lawsuit said they met in a church where Simmons went to pray. "Father Garcia kept this boy under his control," said Attorney Jeffrey Herman. "When he turned 18, he eventually hired him to work at St. Agatha."
The lawsuit claims the abuse lasted for several years. It also said Father Garcia is currently the pastor at St. Agatha Church in Miami, even though the lawsuit alleges there are two other pending allegations of sex abuse against Garcia.
The Archdiocese of Miami in a statement said, "Mr. Herman has filed several lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Miami involving Father Garcia, and yet to date, none have been proven credible."
"This man went on the Internet and looked up what was going on," said Herman. "Then he realized he wasn't the only one."
Garcia has never been charged in any of the cases, and there has never been any criminal charges against him. The Archdiocese is looking into the credibility of the lawsuits.
In the meantime, Tony Simmons who claims his pain is real, wanted to share his story.
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