Tony Simmons says he ran away from his parents’ home and was living on the streets when the Rev. Rolando Garcia offered him a helping hand at the Church of the Little Flower in Hollywood.
“I was pretty lost,” Simmons, 34, told The Miami Herald. “Father Garcia was the only person who talked to me. He was my friend.”
Last week, Simmons, a decorated U.S. Army specialist who served in the Iraq war, accused Garcia in a lawsuit of sexually abusing him during the mid-1990s, starting when he was 16 years old.
For the first time in recent memory, Miami’s Catholic Church leaders reacted defensively to his negligence suit, the latest of more than 100 filed against the local archdiocese since the clergy-sex abuse scandal broke nationwide a decade ago.
Even before church officials saw Simmons’ suit, the archdiocese issued an unprecedented statement on Tuesday suggesting that if the news media wanted to write a “bala...