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Church youth leader faces child sex abuse charge in Miami-Dade

The 17-year-old boy met Rick Torcise, 67, at the New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of Homestead, investigators say. Torcise hired him to work at his home in the agricultural Redland area.

MIAMI – A 67-year-old farmer and entrepreneur who serves as a church youth leader in Homestead is facing a child sex abuse charge in Miami-Dade County, records show.

The 17-year-old boy met Rick Torcise at the New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of Homestead. Torcise hired him to work at his home in the agricultural Redland area, police said.

According to the arrest form, the teen said Torcise first fondled his thigh area and buttocks over his clothing several times and on Oct. 16 he sexually abused him.

“The victim disclosed out of fear he performed fellatio,” Officer Dorneisha Mallary wrote.

Records show Torcise is a title trustee of New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of Homestead, Inc., and he was the manager of Florida Legends Baseball. Attorney John Priovolos is representing the victim.

“People like Torcise prey on the vulnerable. This time, he got more than he bargained for. My client was not too weak. He is strong, and I am proud to represent him,” Priovolos said.

Attorney Benedict P. Kuehne is representing Torcise, who is facing a charge of engaging in a sexual act with a custodial child, which is punishable by life. He pled not guilty.

Torcise was first arrested on Tuesday after refusing to answer detectives’ questions. Court records show he posted a $10,000 bond and was released with an order to stay away from the victim.

But under current law, the charges he’s facing require he be held without bond.

According to the state attorney’s office, they believe a programming or clerical error within the court computer system led to Torcise being charged with a version of the law prior to 2014, which did allow bond. The state attorney’s office is now looking into how that happened and what the options are to correct this situation.

“We will not stop until Torcise and anyone who was aware of his despicable conduct is brought to justice,” Priovolos said. “We believe that there may be other victims, and if so, they must know that they are not alone.”

Police are hoping any potential additional victims will come forward.

Torcise’s arraignment is at 9 a.m. on Dec. 16. Detectives are asking anyone with information about the case to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477 or the special victims unit at 305-715-3300.

Excerpts from the arrest report

Special victims' unit report (MDPD)

Excerpts from the court docket

MDCC (MDCC)

About the Authors:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.

Amy Viteri is an Emmy Award-winning journalist who joined Local 10 News in September 2015. She's currently an investigative reporter and enjoys uncovering issues facing South Florida communities. A native of the Washington, D.C., area, she's happy to be back in South Florida, where she earned a masters degree at the University of Miami.