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Lawsuit Alleges Sweetwater Priest Raped Teen Refugee In 1984

May 14, 2004 | AP A Nicaraguan immigrant filed a lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Miami, accusing a former priest of sexual abuse 20 years ago.

The suit filed by the now 33-year-old victim, who is identified as "John Doe," is the fifth implicating Ernesto Garcia-Rubio.

In the suit, the plaintiff alleges Garcia-Rubio, a priest at Our Lady of Divine Providence in Sweetwater, raped him in 1984, when he was a 13-year-old refugee seeking asylum.

Garcia-Rubio was removed as pastor of that parish in 1988, amid claims he had sexually abused several Latin American refugee boys. The Vatican removed him from the priesthood in 1994.

The suit, filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court on Thursday, alleges that the Archdiocese of Miami knew he had a history of sexual misconduct when he was hired.

A statement released by the archdiocese Thursday said Garcia-Rubio has not been associated with the local Catholic Church for 15 years, but declined to comment on the latest lawsuit.

The suit includes confidential church documents showing the late Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll had been told "serious difficulties of a moral nature" forced Garcia-Rubio to leave Cuba. But the documents did not suggest his problems were related to pedophilia, and an archdiocese background check found no evidence of wrongdoing.

Garcia-Rubio became the spiritual director of Immaculate LaSalle High School in Coconut Grove in 1970, and was moved to the Sweetwater parish five years later.

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