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Ex-Altar Boy Sues Archdiocese, Alleges Abuse

May 9, 2004 | AP

A former altar boy has sued the Archdiocese of Miami, saying he was repeatedly raped by a priest at a Catholic school 25 years ago.
The victim, who was not identified, attempted suicide twice because of the abuse at Immaculate Conception School, according to the civil lawsuit filed Thursday.

The lawsuit accuses the Rev. Joseph Cinesi of sexually assaulting him when he was 10, during the 1978-79 school year.

Cinesi, 54, of Coconut Creek, previously denied having sexual contact with anyone while he was a priest.

He left his parish in August 1999, saying he wanted to fight the false allegations against him.

Five lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by Cinesi have been settled out of court, according to attorneys involved.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta expressed sympathy for the former altar boy and said Thursday that Cinesi was placed on a leave of absence in December 1999 because of earlier accusations. He is still a priest.

The lawsuit accuses Cinesi of putting his hand over the boy's mouth and assaulting him in a bathroom.

The boy ran home and swallowed his grandfather's bottle of prescription drugs, according to the lawsuit. He was hospitalized.

The priest is accused of raping the boy many other times, according to the lawsuit, and the boy attempted suicide again the same way.

Cinesi could face criminal prosecution because there is no statute of limitations in Florida if an alleged sexual abuse victim is younger than 12.

A spokesman for the state attorney's office said prosecutors weren't aware of the man's case.

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