Press Release



Press Release


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release
Giving Voice to Victims


For immediate release:
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2005

Miami Clergy Sex Abuse Victim Wins Court Battle

Judge Allows Chance For Punitive Damages & Case To Proceed

Church Officials Threatened To Have Victim Deported

Damaging Documents Apparently Were Key To Ruling

Attorneys for a clergy child molestation victim have won a key court battle today involving an allegedly abusive Miami archdiocesan priest who is scheduled to face trial next week.

A Miami judge ruled this morning that the civil molestation case against Fr. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio will proceed to trial and that his alleged victim can seek punitive damages against the Archdiocese and Garcia-Rubio. The judge based his decision on church documents showing that archdiocesan officials threatened Garcia-Rubio's victim with deportation if he reported the crime. Those documents are now publicly available through the court.

The decision was issued by Miami-Dade County Judge Jerald Bagley.

"We're grateful this brave victim will finally get his day in court," said David Clohessy of St. Louis. He's the national director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). "In this case, as in so many others, church officials brutally tried to hide the truth and intimidate victims and witnesses. Now, some proof of this horrific cover up is in the public record, and we expect more will surface when the trial begins."

Garcia-Rubio has been accused of molesting numerous immigrant boys. He is believed to have fled the US and is living in Central America.

At a news conference in August, outside the archdiocesan chancery office, SNAP released correspondence showing that church officials knew of Garcia-Rubio's sexual misconduct as far back as the 1960s. In one letter, marked "confidential," the Vatican's apostolic delegate to the US informs Miami's archbishop that Garcia-Rubio "was forced to leave Cuba because of serious difficulties of a moral nature (homosexuality)." (A Catholic priest who is an expert on church documents has testified that "homosexuality" was often used in the church hierarchy as a euphemism for child sexual abuse.)

In another letter, Miami's archbishop assures a Vatican official that he will "do what I can in every way to protect him (Garcia-Rubio)."

At that August news conference, SNAP also hand-delivered a letter asking Miami church officials to use pulpit announcements, church bulletins, the archdiocesan newspaper and web site to aggressively reach out to anyone who experienced or witnesses Garcia-Rubio's crimes, so that he might be prosecuted and so that his victims might get help. However, no one from the archdiocese has responded to SNAP's letter.

The case against Garcia-Rubio was initially filed in 2002. The victim is identified by a pseudonym.


David Clohessy (St. Louis) SNAP national director 314 566 9790

Attorney Russell Adler (Ft. Lauderdale) of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt, and Adler 954 315 7202, 954 801 8100 cell

Attorney Pat Noaker (St. Paul) 651 227 9990, 612 961 1307 cell

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests