Judge OK's Sex Abuse Suit Against Miami Archdiocese
Former Altar Boys Suing For Alleged Negligence, BatteryJan 15, 2003 | AP
A judge has decided to allow a former altar boy's sexual abuse lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Miami to go to trial, rejecting arguments by the Catholic Church that the statute of limitations has run out.
Under Florida law, civil suits claiming negligence and sexual battery must be filed within four to seven years, depending on the age of the plaintiff. But Circuit Judge Ronald Friedman said there were "sufficient issues" in the claim by Jose A. Currais Jr., 45, who sued last May, alleging he was sexually abused by two South Florida priests 30 years ago.
Friedman must still decide whether the case law is applicable to Currais' claims. But he cleared the parties to begin exchanging evidence, including priests' depositions and church files.
"This is a great first step in seeking justice for my client," attorney Jeffrey Herman said Tuesday.
Currais claims the Revs. Ricardo Castellanos and Rev. Alvaro Guichard forced him to participate in orgies as a teen, taking him along cruising for other boys and making him have sex with visiting seminarians from Rome. The abuse occurred from 1971 until about 1974, Currais said.
Castellanos, 56, pastor of San Isidro Church in Pompano Beach, and Guichard, 62, pastor of St. Francis de Sales in Miami Beach, have denied Currais' accusations. Both priests are on administrative leave while the church reviews the case. They can challenge Friedman's ruling before a state appellate court.
Manuel Garcia-Linares, Guichard's attorney, said he had not seen the judge's order, which was filed Friday, and declined to comment.
An attorney for Castellanos and a spokeswoman for the archdiocese could not be immediately reached for comment.