Homestead priest accused of drugging, sexually assaulting parishioner

Father Jean-Claude Jean-Philippe officiated at woman's wedding, report says

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

HOMESTEAD, Fla. - A Roman Catholic priest in Homestead was arrested Friday after police said he drugged and sexually assaulted a former parishioner.

The Rev. Jean-Claude Jean-Phillippe, 64, faces a charge of sexual battery on a victim who was physically incapacitated.

Jean-Phillippe serves as a parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the 100 block of Southeast Second Road.

According to the arrest report, the woman was once a parishioner at Sacred Heart. Jean-Phillippe officiated at her wedding and is her child's godfather. 

The woman told police that Jean-Phillippe invited her to his residence on the church grounds in October and offered her some iced tea to drink. The report said the woman blacked out after drinking the tea and woke up two hours later naked in Jean-Phillippe's bed. 

According to the report, the woman questioned Jean-Phillippe, who was dressed only in his underwear, about what had happened to her, but he denied assaulting her.

The woman initially reported the incident on March 4 to church authorities who instructed her to alert police, said Mary Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski has removed Jean-Phillippee from Sacred Heart and placed him on administrative leave, Agosta said. The archdiocese has offered the woman pastoral and psychological counseling, Agosta said.

After he was arrested, Jean-Phillippe told police that he had undressed the woman, massaged her with oil and sexually molested her, the report said.

He was released $10,000 bond Saturday after being held at Miami-Dade County's Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

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