Jeff Herman Files Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Archdiocese of Miami

Woman 1: The archdiocese of Miami is facing a lawsuit tonight involving the pastor of St. Agatha Catholic Church. The alleged sexual abuse happened about 30 years ago. The alleged victim is now speaking out for the first time because he believes there are more victims out there. As CBS4’s Summer Knowles reports, the pastor voluntarily took a lie detector test to prove his innocence.

Man 1: Kissed me, abused me, touched me, it’s like a nightmare. A person’s who is thinking is going to be there for me.

Summer: This man, who does not want to be identified, says as a child, he was sexually abused multiple times by Father Rolando Garcia, a Catholic priest with the archdiocese of Miami.

Man 1: Not trusting him no more. I know in bottom of my heart. I know what he did to me, and I’m pissed what he did to me.

Summer: He and his attorney say there have been at least two other allegations of Garcia sexually abusing children, and they have now filed a lawsuit against the archdiocese seeking more than $5 million in compensation.

Man 1: Right now, because I have kids, and I don’t want anybody touch my kids.

Summer: The alleged victim says he met Father Garcia about three years ago through a Cuban refugee outreach program while Garcia was studying to become a priest. He says shortly after meeting, Garcia molested him inside a private room at the St. Vincent de Paul regional seminary in Boynton Beach.

Man 1: Take me for the first time, kissed me on my lips, touched me, feel me. Then he sleeping with no clothes, because he’s saying there’s no air conditioner in there.

Summer: Despite the allegations, Father Garcia is still the pastor at this church in southwest Miami-Dade, where he reportedly told his congregation about the allegations recently, and even said that he had taken a lie detector test, which he says supports his innocence. Father Garcia also read his congregation this statement.

Woman 2: “I adamantly deny these charges which I strongly believe were maliciously fabricated. Needless to say, I am totally innocent of this allegation.”

Man 2: Their answer is, “It’s a manipulation.” Unfortunately that’s the same rhetoric we’ve heard for decades now.

Summer: Summer Knowles, CBS4 News.