Priests accused of having oral sex in car in South Beach

Police officer found men in afternoon parked across from park, report says

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Two men who identified themselves as Catholic priests were arrested Monday afternoon after police said they were caught having oral sex in a parked car in South Beach.

Diego Berrio, 39, and Edwin Giraldo Cortez, 30, face a charge of lewd and lascivious behavior. Cortez faces an additional charge indecent exposure.

According to the arrest report, an officer on patrol found Berrio and Cortez having sex in a black Volkswagen in the 1300 block of Ocean Drive around 3:30 p.m. The officer noted in the report that the men were in full view of pedestrians because the car's windows were not tinted.

Berrio is a priest with the Mission of San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, Illinios, and Giraldo-Cortez is from Soacha, Colombia, and served at the another Chicago area parish for about a month, according to Anne Maselli, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Chicago. 

"It is our responsibility to ensure those who serve our people are fit for ministry," Maselli said in a statement. "We take this matter very seriously."

Miami Beach police officers said the rental car was parked on Ocean Driver in front of Lummus Park and the Art Deco hotels, between 13th and 14th streets. It was walking distance from a children's play area. 

Berrio and Cortez appeared in bond court Tuesday.

The car (right) was parked next to a park and playground along Ocean Drive.

Cortez requested bond, saying that he was scheduled to leave for his native Colombia on Wednesday. He told the court that he spent the last two months in the Chicago area.

"The major concern that I had was the fact that it was in public," Judge Jeffrey Rosinek said. "When a police officer can come and just watch. That's a problem."

Rosinek ultimately set bond at $500 for Cortez and $250 for Berrio. Both men were released from jail late Tuesday.

An arrest report noted the Miami Beach police officer recorded the incident with a body-worn camera. 

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, will not be allowing Berrio or Giraldo-Cortez to minister for the Archdiocese of Chicago, Maselli said.

About the Authors:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.