Priest accused of sex abuse

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The Sun Sentinel (Florida)

7:13 p.m. EDT, October 24, 2012

By James D. DavisStaff writer

A 34-year-old man filed suit Tuesday against the Archdiocese of Miami, saying a priest molested him when he was a teenager living in Hollywood.

In the lawsuit, Tony Simmons alleges that the Rev. Rolando Garcia initiated a sexual relationship with him around 1994, when Garcia was at Little Flower Church in Hollywood and Simmons was a 16-year-old runaway. The document names the alleged victim only as John Doe No. 95, but Simmons identified himself as the plaintiff in a phone talk brokered by his attorney, Jeff Herman.

“I’ve got a daughter and a boy that’s coming,” said Simmons, who lives in Charlottesville, Va. “I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.”

Garcia is currently pastor at St. Agatha Catholic Church in Miami. The archdiocese’s communication office declined direct comment on the case, instead emailing a brief statement: “Mr. Herman has filed several lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Miami involving Father Garcia, and yet to date, none have been proven credible.”

According to the lawsuit, Garcia found the teenager praying at the church and offered him food and counseling, then sexually abused him. That grew into a relationship of several years involving movies, concerts, alcohol, pornography, “oral sex and sodomy,” the lawsuit says.

The two stayed in touch even after Simmons’ military service from 2003-2010. But Simmons kept quiet, he said, because “I honestly thought I was the only person. And if it came out, I could lose my job.”

He changed his mind Oct. 15 after the priest told him of another accusation, then laughed about it, Simmons said. “That sent chills down my spine.”

14 Responses to Priest accused of sex abuse

  1. joe says:

    My opinion on this matter is this! And I have read all the news paper articles on this matter. And in each one it says different things?????For one things allot doesn’t add up. Why would someone stay there for 9 years if this rev garcia was sexually abusing mr.simmons. Why would Mr. simmons keep in touch for 18 years with is man. Why did mr. simmons give Rev Garcia his war medal in 2003? why did he call this man all the time and speak with him on the phone and go see him? At 16 years old anyone that i have know or spoken with would have know that if someone pulls he car over especially late at night and un zips your pants and performs oral sex on you (having ever had sex or not) would no that this was not a regular act that would be performed especially one male to another nd someone your fathers age at that. that something is terribly wrong and would have ran from that car and told someone or at least tried to get away but he didnt ? but stayed nine years and let him continuously do it over and over to him and more. and never said a word to anyone for 18 years???? and just now decided to speak out? It did say in one of many news articles that mr. simmons was a highly decorated service man and served in Iraq. It also stated he was suffering form PTSD Post dramatic stress disorder? Maybe he just imagined all this and it really never happened. Mr. simmons also attended 4 different colleges one in NC, and VA and Michigan. he received degrees in all four colleges and did very well I was told. He recently got married has a daughter Charlotte and a son on the way. He Has his own business as well. If you think about it all this does not make any sense or add up? in my opinion and just an opinion is that mr. simmons is either fabricated this story or it never happened to him and in his mind he just feels it has. PTSD can play tricks on your mind i was told and make you maybe thinks things that actually never happened. Where was CPS? where was his Mom? He was 16 under age. my parents would have had the cops looking for me especially if i was a run away and under age 18? It also said in the one newspaper article that Tony simmons own cousin didnt believe his fabricated story. said his parents would never do that to him? well we all have are opinions but this seems far fetched even for me to believe. lets see how others feel about his story and let them read this a voice how they feel about his accusations against the catholic priest. see if i’m the only one that feels this way. They need to dig into this more and do a through investigation. something to me smells sorta fishey????

  2. ron says:

    at 16 your not a child. and you no right from wrong? and if he was abuse why did Simmons stay for 9 years and let it continue? and keep in touch with the priest and never tell anyone. sounds kinda fishy to me. like he made it all up just for attention.he gave the priest his war medal. people who mare being abused do not stay or keep min touch or reward their predator with medals.

    • Jean-Louis says:

      “ron”,

      I’d like you to scroll down and see how I replied to Mary… Your foot sort of fits in her shoe…

      jj

  3. ron says:

    ll of it. at 16 your not a child. THINK ABOUT IT. AND TO LET HIM CONTINUE FOR 9 YEARS AND THEN WAIT ANOTHER 9 TO SAY ANYTHING…COME ON GET REAL.

  4. M says:

    Depends on personality of the 16 year old and their circumstances. Were they already a victim of life, or were they raised in a good stable environment ? Were they of normal intelligence ? How were they raised to think of priests and the church ? Were they gullible ? Lots of reasons I can think of, off the bat. May-be even willing at the time for various reasons and became more knowledgeable later. Priest is still guilty of taking advantage of his position, and of not being a real priest.

  5. Leona says:

    Ron, in most jurisdictions, laws have recognized that there cannot be consent with a child 16 and under with an age difference of more than 5 years. They have also recognized that consent is not possible with a child/vulnerable adult with anyone in a position of power or authority over a person e.g. counsellor, priest, minister, teacher, or employer,
    The priest committed a criminal act. He receives training on these matters. He counsels others, and gives advice. He is experienced in the ways of the world. Even if the victim had begged him for sex on a regular basis, the priest would be committing a crime if he acted on it.
    As for the victim waiting 9 years, and remaining friends with the abuser, this is actually extremely common among abuse victims. If you research ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, you may begin to understand what victims go though in order to protect themselves from feeling the enormity of the crime committed against them.

  6. Mary says:

    My opinion is that at 16 your old enough to no better! and your not an innocent child. It would be different if he was under the age of 16! He kept in contact with the priest and he let it continue for 9 years then waited 9 more to say anything. I feel he enjoyed it and just didnt want to end it. Maybe someone found out and said something to him or maybe he found another lover. anyways I feel Tony Summons knew what was going on and just didnt want it to end or he would have turned the priest in right after it happened. But instead he liked the attention and what the priest was doing to him sexually.

    • Jean-Louis says:

      “Mary”,

      MY opinion is that you make a lot of unfounded presumptions that are clearly apathetic toward anyone who may have EVER been abused in any way.

      I find your comments extremely insulting, undermining, and non-productive, amounting to nothing more than speculation and fantasy.

      Many who post (and read) here were abused beyond the ripe old age of 16, and continued to have their abuser present in their lives for various reasons. To suggest “the sex was good” is as crass as saying a rape victim “deserves it”.

      Please get informed. Surf around this site as a starting point.

      jj

    • M says:

      Doesn’t matter if he liked it or not. The priest was still guilty, of taking advantage of someone who was under his authority and trust, and of breaking priestly vows, and of not living the life expected of a good priest. There is no way any rational person can blame the victim here.

  7. Sylvia says:

    You, Mary, are proof positive that there are as many Roman Catholics and others who know little about the clerical seduction and abuse of young boys, teenagers of all ages included

    A revered, cunning and manipulative priest can seduce a teenage boy of any age and convince the boy/child that, for example, this (sex) is God’s plan and/or the way God wants to show the boy that he, the boy, is loved.

    Most clerical molesters are revered, and of necessity are cunning and manipulative.

    As for the abuse continuing, that is not uncommon. Please take time to read this site before you hurl insults at victims.

    Finally, for countless reasons victims of clerical sexual abuse almost stereotypically take years to come forward. Again, please take time to educate yourself before hurling insults at those who suffer at the hands of a priest.

    Your words are harsh, cruel and lacking in both charity for victims and knowledge of the damage done to every child (all teens included) who suffers sexual abuse at the hands of Roman Catholic priest.

    • Lina says:

      That was a good, straight, tactful and wise response to “Mary’s” post Sylvia.

      Mary is not the only one that just cannot grasp that concept of a priest grooming his victim in different ways.

      Folks just to not want to believe their priests/clergy can do and take part in evil criminal acts.

      So its easier to blame the victims rather than priest who is the real culprit.

      More people do need to learn to educated themselves on that subject about clergy abuse victims. Sadly many people do not want to hear negative stuff about their priests especially priests they see has so good and perfect.

      The only one who is so good and perfect is that man on cross. Jesus!

  8. Leona says:

    Mary, it doesn’t matter if he liked it and appreciated the attention. It is a crime for a an adult in a position of authority to prey on you children. The adult is one who knows. The child even if he was 16 is under no obligation to ‘know better’! That the adult is a priest who preaches on ethics and morality makes it an even greater offense.

  9. MS says:

    …and I might add, priests are in positions of trust and ought to set an example of godly counsel, strengthing the spirit, encouraging the weak…you know the virtues that the R.C. Church teach. Pedopriests are contradictions of this. They are criminals hiding behind church law and religious spirits and religious garb. It’s difficult to watch them parade around in Rome with the awareness that we have today. Those who hid these reported cases in Rome or at the local “bishop” level are accomplices and participate indirectly or directly.

    • John says:

      Well said. MS. Well said . Still I truely think its just a cult . It even said in the bible that the devil can disguise in many ways .

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