- Abuse victims leaflet outside Catholic church
- They urge archbishop: “Warn South Americans about priest”
- He abused in Miami & is believed to now be living in Colombia
- And they seek out others who were molested by another priest
- He was finally just ousted after four separate child sex lawsuits
- SNAP to Wenski: Post predators’ names on archdiocesan websites
Holding signs and childhood photos, clergy sex abuse victims will hand out fliers to churchgoers about two predator priests:
--one who has allegedly fled to his native Colombia, and
--one who was finally ousted last week after four separate child sex abuse lawsuits.
They will also urge Miami’s Catholic archbishop to
--warn parishioners and prelates in South America about one of the clerics, and
----post on his diocesan website the names, photos and whereabouts of every predator priest who lived or worked in the state.
Friday, November 2 at 11:00
Outside St. John Bosco Church, 1349 West Flagler Street (near SW 14th) in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami
Five to six members of a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, including a Missouri woman who is the organization’s long time outreach director. Including Spanish speaking members.
Last week, Miami Catholic Archbishop Thomas Wenski disclosed that he secretly settled a child sex abuse and cover up case against Fr. Christobal de Jesus Puertas. The archbishops also finally ousted Fr. Rolando G. Garcia from his job - after the fourth time Garcia has been accused of molesting kids.
SNAP is seeking other victims of the two clerics. The group is especially worried about Fr. Puertas, who, they’ve heard, has fled the US and returned to his native Colombia. SNAP wants Wenski to warn his brother bishops in Colombia, and Colombian Catholics, about Fr. Puertas.
In 2007, Garcia was accused of abusing an 11-year-old boy while at St. John Bosco in the Miami neighborhood of Little Havana. That suit was settled out of court in September of 2009. The next allegation came in 2012, when Fr. Garcia was accused of abusing a young boy in the 1980’s while Garcia was attending Palm Beach Seminary. As a result of that allegation, Fr. Garcia was quietly suspended, but was put back on the job days later after Wenski claimed that Fr. Garcia passed a polygraph test.
Less than a month after Wenski returned Fr. Garcia to ministry, another allegation surfaced, this time accusing Fr. Garcia of abusing a then 16-year-old runaway in 1994 while he was assigned to Church of the Little Flower in Hollywood. A day after the lawsuit was publicly announced, Wenski decided to again remove Fr. Garcia from ministry.
SNAP wants Wenski to use his archdiocesan resources to find others who saw, suspected or suffered Fr. Garcia or Fr. Puertas.
One alleged victim says there’s a connection between the two priests. A Miami man maintains that Fr. Garcia "was paying me to keep quiet” when Fr. Puertas was allegedly raping him.
SNAP is also calling on Wenski to permanently post the names of all proven, admitted and credibly accused Miami area priests on his website, in his archdiocesan newspaper, and in parish bulletins. SNAP says that is “one of the simplest, quickest and cheapest ways to keep kids safe.”
Roughly 30 US bishops have posted the names of their predator priests, usually after considerable public pressure.
In 2002, Tucson and Baltimore became the first US dioceses to disclose predators’ names. More recently, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has created a database on its website which includes priests with credible child sex abuse accusations against them. (A full list of all the dioceses that have disclosed names is available here: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm)
Several of Fr. Garcia’s victims are represented by Miami attorney Jeff Herman.
Fr. Garcia was first sued in 2007. Fr. Peurtas was first sued in 2010. Photos of both men are available atBishopAccountability.org