The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, August 27, 2010
Ex-Central Catholic priest made teen pregnant, lawsuit says; SNAP responds
Statement by Barbara Dorris Outreach Director 314 862 7688
Our hearts ache for this teenager and her family. Once again Catholic officials had a chance to protect the innocent and the vulnerable. School officials were notified that Fr. Luis Bonilla Margarito was spending too much time with the teen but took no action.
We hope that Bishop Barres will visit every parish and school where Margarito worked and beg anyone who has been harmed to come forward, and anyone who has seen or suspected his misdeeds to work with law enforcement.
History, research and experience has taught us that predators rarely have only one victim. We fear others who have been hurt are trapped in silence and self blame.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell)
Originally Published: 8/27/2010
Ex-Central Catholic priest made teen pregnant, lawsuit says
A Muhlenberg Township couple filed a lawsuit in Berks County Court on Thursday, accusing the Allentown Diocese of failing to prevent a former Central Catholic High School priest from impregnating their 19-year-old daughter.
The parents, whose names are being withheld by the Reading Eagle, are seeking more than $300,000 in damages, according to the suit filed by Jay N. Abramowitch of Wyomissing.
The following also were named as defendants: the Rev. Luis A. Bonilla Margarito, Bishop John O. Barres and former Bishop Edward P. Cullen.
The suit claims Bonilla had an inappropriate sexual relationship with the teen while she was a senior in the 2008-09 school year.
Matthew Kerr, diocese spokesman, said Bonilla, 40, was removed in November from his assignment as a pastor at St. Joseph Church, 1018 N. Eighth St., and as chaplain at the high school.
According to the suit:
The teen, who graduated in 2009, became acquainted with Bonilla in the 2008-09 school year.
The parents said they became aware their daughter was spending too much time with Bonilla and they reported it to school officials, who they said did nothing.
The parents hid a video camera in their basement and in November 2009 it recorded the teen having sex with Bonilla.
The parents reported the contents of the video to the diocese, and Bonilla was removed from his assignments and placed in a treatment program, where he remains.
The daughter continued a relationship with Bonilla via text messaging and telephone. The teen recently gave birth to a daughter.
Bonilla was ordained in 2000.
Contact Holly Herman: 610-478-6291 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests