MIAMI SHORES, Fla. - A Miami judge denied a request by the Archdiocese of Miami to silence a former teacher and accused child molester who has been confessing from jail to the father of a former student.
In clips of two jailhouse recordings in May and June, Miguel Cala shared how he reached out for help with his sexual urges during a year in a Venezuelan seminary and after with the Archdiocese of Miami.
"I confessed so many times to so many priests," Cala told the father of the 7-year-old alleged victim known in court papers as John Doe No. 70. "Every time I confessed to somebody, I was sure it's going to go away, you know what I mean, because that's what the Bible says."
The father decided to make the jailhouse visits in a quest to understand what might have happened to his son.
"Would it be fair to say you were looking for love with kids you were working with? The physical?" he asked Cala.
"Yeah, exactly," Cala answered. "At some point I just my, my, my desire for love was too much that I blurred the line between a grown up individual and a child. Those lines were blurred."
In a deposition, Cala said the priest at the seminary told him how anything a seminary student tells a Spiritual Director, to include confessions, are shared with leaders because the information is used to determine if the person is fit to be a priest.
Cala left the seminary after officials there recommended he get counseling for "anxiety." He was then offered the job at the Coral Springs Catholic school, run by the Archdiocese of Miami, to teach music to young children.
He was arrested in 2010 and faces criminal charges in Broward County, and is accused of molesting at least four boys at tutoring sessions in their homes.
His jailhouse conversations indicate he had confided in more than a few church elders in his Venezuelan seminary and counselors in Miami in the years before being given a teaching job with young children.
"I used to confess five times a day, a week," Cala told the father. "Every time I masturbate I would like, 'I got to go to confession because this is demons making me do this.'"
After a judge denied the Archdiocese's request to silence Cala, its spokeswoman issued a statement via email that reads, in part, "This matter regarding Miguel Cala is subject to the civil court's determination, with a decision reached after the court weighs all the evidence presented."
John Doe's lawyer, Jeffrey Herman, does not wonder why the Archdiocese sought to silence him.
"We're getting the truth," said Herman. "I took Miguel Cala's deposition. His lawyer was there. He pled the Fifth to every question. So the fact he's willing to go and tell these people what he knew is great. Let the truth come out."
Herman said "it's really sad that the Archdiocese knew that Cala was a pedophile before they let him be a teacher at this school and put all those kids in danger."
Herman said the boy was 7-year-old when the abuse started, lasting until he was 9. The families' civil case against the school and the Archdiocese allege those entities knew about Cala's proclivities yet gave him a teaching position with unfettered access to children.
"The fact that Cala said he told the Spiritual Director at the seminary of his urges with kids just blew me away because what I know about that is that is not a confidential confession," Herman said.
Now the question is to what extent did those at the Archdiocese of Miami know of Cala's inclinations and yet choose not to remove him from the classroom. Herman said this case reminds him of the infamous child abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church 10 years ago in Boston.
"It's interesting that these conversations Cala said he had with seminary officials happened two years before the Boston scandal hit and so I believe the diocese across the country was still in its cover-up mode," Herman said. "These scandals are very similar in that you have people within the organization having information, telling them that these men are unfit to be around kids and despite that they cover it up and then they put them with kids and these kids lives are destroyed. It's just so sad."
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