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Miami Priest Put On Leave

Jun 5, 2002 | The Miami Herald

The Rev. José Nickse, longtime pastor of St. Brendan Catholic Church, was suspended Tuesday after a sexual abuse complaint was lodged against him, the Archdiocese of Miami confirmed.

''He has been put on administrative leave due to a sexual abuse allegation,'' archdiocese spokesman Mary Ross Agosta said. The priest denied the allegation, she said.

Nickse is the eighth priest to be suspended from the archdiocese since 1998 because of a sexual abuse accusation. Four others have also retired since then for the same reason.

Agosta said Father Nickse, 55, was temporarily replaced at the Westchester church late Tuesday by the Rev. Charles Peterman.

She said it is the church's policy to suspend ''any priest accused of sexual misconduct'' until the archdiocese conducts an internal probe into the accusation.

Archbishop John C. Favalora will appoint ''a response team,'' a committee of church lay people, to investigate the allegation.

Agosta said the panel will determine whether the allegation is credible.

Depending on the outcome, Nickse could be reinstated as pastor or removed from the church.

Removing him from the priesthood would require the approval of the Vatican. Agosta declined to comment on the nature of the complaint against Nickse.

The pastor could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.

In the past month, the archdiocese has suspended two priests -- the Revs. Ricardo Castellanos, 56, and Alvaro Guichard, 62 -- because of allegations of sexual misconduct by a former altar boy at St. Kieran Church in Miami.

Castellanos was the longtime pastor of San Isidro in Pompano Beach and Guichard headed St. Francis de Sales on Miami Beach.

The suspensions come as the Archdiocese of Miami is providing information of past and current complaints to the Miami-Dade state attorney's office.

BISHOPS TO MEET

Next week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is meeting in Dallas to discuss the sex-abuse scandal in the church.

Nickse, one of the more visible area priests, was selected to lead a televised Mass honoring the 30th anniversary of the archdiocese in 1988.

He has been pastor at St. Brendan, 8725 SW 32nd St., since 1982.

Nickse, once the archdiocese's director of communications, led the invocation at the inaugural Florida Marlins game in 1993.

He has also served as a panelist on local talk shows, including the WPBT program Viewpoints, representing the church's stance on topics ranging from gay rights to premarital sex to speaking on a program titled Sex in the '90s.

The Cuban-born Nickse has also been active member in exile causes.


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