Archdiocese of Miami Sexual Abuse Lawyer

September 13, 2019 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

While other Dioceses across the United States have released the names of church personnel publicly accused of sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Miami is one of the last major holdouts. In 2003, the Archdiocese provided a statement in which it said that it had appropriately turned the information of abuse over to state authorities, but that there was no reason to release the names of priests that were no longer active in the Diocese or had died. At that time, it was reported that 38 priests within the Archdiocese had been accused of sexual misconduct with minors, and that $$9.3 million had been paid out for settlements, legal costs, and counseling for the victims.

As of April 2019, Miami and St. Louis were the only remaining Archdioceses who had not released lists of credibly accused priests. More than 120 dioceses across the nation have released the names of those accused of sexual abuse against children.

Publicly Accused Priests from the Miami Archdiocese

According to the website, there have been 41 public accusations of sexual abuse made against priests from the Miami Archdiocese. The information on these priests was taken from news accounts and court records. Here is the list:

  • Arnolfo Arandia: Arandia was accused of abusing a 15-year-old in Miami in 1988. He moved to the Jackson, MS diocese in 2000 and was suspended from his duties in 2002. It is believed that he fled to Ecuador. Prosecutors declined to file charges as the statute of limitations had expired.
  • Joseph Calimari: Accused through one civil lawsuit filed in 2007 of abusing two boys who were brothers in the 1960s at Christ the King Church in Perrine. Both boys were very young at the time the abuse occurred. The older brother committed suicide in 2006.
  • Francisco Carrera: A former altar boy accused Carrera in 2002 of molesting him in 1981 at Our Lady of Divine Providence Church in west Miami while Carrera was serving as a visiting priest from Spain. The accuser was 13 years old at the time that the alleged abuse occurred. A second suit was filed in 2011, alleging that Carrera abused a 10-year-old boy in 1976 at the same parish. An appeals court upheld a lower court's dismissal of the case due to statute of limitations.
  • Charles Cassetta: Accused in 2003 of sexually abusing a female student at least 10 times in 1971-72 at Cardinal Newman High School. The suit was settled in 2004 for $220,000. Cassetta left the priesthood, married, and moved to Maryland.
  • Ricardo Castellanos: In 2002, Castellanos was sued by a man who says he was abused by Castellanos when he was 14-16 years old at St. Kieran Church and LaSalle High School in Miami and during overnight trips to Disney World in the early 1970s. The case was dismissed due to the statute of limitations. At least four other suits have named Castellanos, including two that were settled in 2004, and another filed in 2012 in which it is claimed that Castellanos abused one youth more than 150 times in 1995 at San Isidro Church in Pompano Beach.
  • Rolando Castillo: In 2007, a civil suit alleged that Castillo abused a 17-year-old youth in 2001. He denied allegations and an Archdiocese investigation cleared him of wrongdoing in 2009. He was reinstated to active status and reassigned to a different parish. The lawsuit was “mutually resolved.”
  • Joseph Cinesi: In 1999, a man alleged that Cinesi had sexual contact with him about 100 times in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the man was between the ages of 12 to 15 years old. The Diocese settled at least 5 claims or lawsuits naming Cinesi in 1999-2001, and another one in 2004.
  • Rocco D'Angelo: The Archdiocese knew in 1966-67 that D'Angelo had molested at least four to five boys and promised the victims and their parents that he would be transferred and not allowed to work with children. He underwent therapy and then was reassigned to the St. Petersburg Diocese. Numerous lawsuits were filed against him in Miami and Tampa, with several producing settlements. D'Angelo died in 2005.
  • Thomas Dennehy: A civil suit was filed in 2010, alleging that Dennehy abused a victim for two years in 1967 and 1968. The victim stated that Dennehy forced him to wear a girl's school uniform during the abuse. Dennehy retired in 1993 and died in 1999.
  • Neil Doherty: Doherty was removed from the Archdiocese in 2002, and was sued in 2003 for abusing four to five victims. The church had known of the abuse since 1979 when the first allegation was made. Additional suits were later filed, resulting in settlements as well as Doherty being arrested for his crimes. In 2013, Doherty was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
  • Christopher T. Eggleton: In 2004, Eggleton was found not liable after a civil suit was filed in Miami alleging sexual abuse in 1990-91. He had been removed from his post in Baton Rouge when the allegations surfaced in 2002. As of 2006, he was working in the Diocese of Raleigh.
  • Thomas Engbers: Resigned from his parish in 2002 due to a 22-year-old allegation of sexual abuse in his priest's file. The victim's father had complained at the time the abuse occurred but nothing was done about the situation. The man came forward again in 2002 and Engbers retired.
  • Rafael Escala: In 2011, a man came forward, alleging that Escala had abused him in the late 1980s when he was 16. The claim was settled in 2013. Escala died in 2009.
  • Miguel A. Fernandez: The Archdiocese of Miami settled a suit in 2007 in which a victim stated that Fernandez abused him in the rectory of a West Palm Beach parish. Fernandez died in 2004.
  • James Flemming: A lawsuit was filed in 2004, alleging that Flemming and his brother, Neil Flemming, who was also a priest, sexually abused a youth while serving as tutors at Boystown, a Miami-area orphanage, in 1969.
  • Rolando Garcia: A lawsuit was filed in 2007, alleging that Garcia sexually abused an 11-year-old boy in 1989 at St. John Bosco in Little Havana. The suit settled in 2009. Additional victims came forward and Garcia resigned in 2012.
  • Ernesto Garcia-Rubio: Accused of molesting several youth refugees in the 1980s. Numerous lawsuits have been filed by his alleged victims. He was defrocked in 1999.
  • Hector Gonzalez-Abreu: A civil suit was filed in 2003 by a man accusing Gonzalez-Abreu of abusing him as a youth after he reported to the priest that he had been abused by another church worker. Gonzalez-Abreu was placed on leave in 2003 and later cleared by the Archdiocese.
  • Gus Griffin: Accused in a 2007 civil suit of sexually abusing a 16-year-old boy in 1970s at St. Bernard Church in Sunrise.
  • Joaquin Guerrero: In 2002, a man alleged that Guerrero raped and abused him for 6 months in 1962, when he was 14. Guerrero left the Archdiocese in 1965. The claim was settled in 2004.
  • Alvaro Guichard: Accused of abusing a teenage boy in 1970s. Criminal charges not pursued due to the statute of limitation. Since then, the Archdiocese has settled with five additional victims.
  • L. Yates Harris: A man filed suit 2003, alleging that he had been abused by Harris 20 years ago when he was 17. Harris was working as a high school counselor and chaplain at the time. The victim said the counseling office at the school was lined with pictures Harris had taken of shirtless male students. Harris died in 1996.
  • Joseph Huck: A man filed suit in 2003, alleging he was sexually molested by Huck when he was 12 and living at Boystown outside Miami. The claim was settled in 2004. Huck retired in 2002.
  • Sister Joan Marie: A lawsuit filed in 2011 alleges that the nun groped and fondled a first grade boy during the 1978-1979 school year at St. James Catholic School in North Miami.
  • Pedro Jove: A man filed a civil suit in 2006, alleging that he was abused at age 14 in 1981 and 1982 by Jove and another priest at a Palm Beach County seminary, a Miami rectory and a condominium in the Keys. Jove is no longer a priest.
  • Joseph Kershner: Kershner was principal of Cardinal Gibbons High School, and was suspended in 2002 because of allegations of abuse in the 1980s. The Archdiocese review board cleared him 2002 and returned him to active ministry. He later retired and has been named in a lawsuit that was filed in 2009 or 2010.
  • Gerry LaCerra: Accused in a 2005 suit against Archdiocese of sexually abusing a minor. That suit settled in 2007. LaCerra was Chancellor of the Archdiocese during the time the abuse occurred, and he was also accused of destroying incriminating files regarding other priests. He died in 2000.
  • Jan Malicki: A 1998 suit accuses Malicki of abusing two women, one of whom was 13 at the time of the abuse. No charges were ever filed. The suit was settled in 2005.
  • Anthony Mercieca: Mercieca admitted in 2006 that he sexually abused an altar boy in the mid-1960s, when the victim was 11-13 years old. A civil suit against him was settled in 2007. An additional suit was filed in 2008 regarding abuse alleged to have occurred in 1977.
  • Gustavo Miyares
  • Jose Pablo Nickse: Nickse was placed on leave in 2002 after a lawsuit claimed he and Fr. Castellanos abused a 15-year-old youth in 1982. Additional lawsuits were filed. Nickse died of a heart attack in 2002 before the allegations could be completely investigated.
  • Kevin O'Brien: A lawsuit was filed in 2005, alleging sexual misconduct by O'Brien involving a student at Mary Help of Christians School in 1978-79. O'Brien was principal at the school at the time. He died in 1981.
  • Juan Ramon O'Farrill: A 2011 civil suit alleged that O'Farrill molested a 16-year-old boy in 1988 after the boy sought counseling from him at St. Michael the Archangel Church in West Little Havana. O'Farrill died in 1994.
  • Anthony Parlangeli: In 2002, a man said that he was drugged and raped by Parlangeli on a camping trip when he was 15 years old. The drugs caused convulsions and Parlangeli had to take the boy to the hospital. He was arrested, with charges later reduced to administering drugs illegally. Parlangeli spent time in jail before being transferred to Baltimore where he also abused. He died in 1997.
  • Cristobal Puertas: The Archdiocese reported in 2012 that there was a settlement involving Puertas, who is no longer a priest in the Archdiocese. Victim of this abuse says that Fr. Rolando Garcia knew about the abuse at the time and actually paid the victim to keep quiet about the abuse.
  • Harry Ringenberger: Accused in a lawsuit filed in 2015 of sexual assault of 14-year-old boy in 1989 at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, Pembroke Pines. The lawsuit claimed the Archdiocese was informed of the allegations in 1989 but allowed Ringenberger to work at another parish.
  • Trevor Smith: Smith was accused in a 2002 civil suit of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in late 1990s. Smith was a chaplain at nursing home owned by the Archdiocese of Miami and the boy's grandmother was resident there. The lawsuit was settled 2003 for $500,00. Smith was also arrested and sentenced to 2 years of house arrest and 8 years probation.
  • Edward Sokol: A former Franciscan priest, Sokol was arrested in 2001 after arranging over the Internet to meet what he believed was a 15-year-old boy for sex during a police sting. He pleaded no contest to computer pornography and the judge allowed him to continue running a group home for disabled adult males. Finally ordered to leave the home in 2002 by Social Services.
  • Donald Walk: Walk is named in 2006 settlement with Miami Archdiocese as having sexually abused a teenage boy in the 1970s-1980s. He was subsequently named in other lawsuits.
  • Brian Walsh: A 2006 complaint accused Walsh of sexual abuse of a boy, age 14, in 1964. The boy was a ward of Operation Pedro Pan and Walsh was its founder and director. Walsh died in 2001.
  • Kenneth Ward: Ward was the dean of students at Msgr. Edward Pace High School. Allegations of abuse were reported to police in 2006 but the Archdiocese says it did not learn of them until fall, 2012. In a 2013 civil suit, three men in their mid-20s alleged that Ward abused them in the early 2000s. A fourth man sued in 2013. Ward left the order in 2008 and obtained a state license as a registered nurse in 2012, after which he worked in a psychiatric hospital.

Are You a Survivor? Call Our Sex Abuse Attorneys to Seek Justice

If you were a victim of sexual abuse involving church personnel from the Miami Archdiocese, you deserve to know your legal options. Let us help. With offices across both Florida coasts, you can easily reach Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at 833-552-7274 or by contacting us online.

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Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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