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Detectives suspect church youth leader accused of sexually abusing teen had more victims

Detectives fear Rick Torcise, of the Redlands, could have groomed and abused other teenagers. A 17-year-old boy reported he met him as a church youth leader, Torcise gave him a job, groomed him for months, and sexually abused him on Oct. 16.

MIAMI – Detectives fear Rick Torcise, of the Redlands, could have groomed and abused other teenagers. A 17-year-old boy reported he met him as a church youth leader, Torcise gave him a job, groomed him for months, and sexually abused him on Oct. 16.

Torcise, 67, a well-known entrepreneur, is a title trustee of New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of Homestead, Inc., and a youth leader there. He was also the manager of Florida Legends Baseball.

“This is a person that the community trusts, this is a person that parents trust to guide their children,” said Detective Argemis Colome, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department. “We’re asking anybody that may have had any interaction with this individual ... this is the time to give us a call.”

Attorney John Priovolos is representing the teenage boy who answered detectives’ questions about Torcise’s abuse. Priovolos said sexual predators target the vulnerable and sometimes have enablers.

“We believe that there may be other victims, and if so, they must know that they are not alone,” Priovolos said in a longer statement on Thursday.

Detectives fear Rick Torcise, of the Redlands, could have groomed and abused other teenagers. A 17-year-old boy reported he met him as a church youth leader, Torcise gave him a job, groomed him for months, and sexually abused him on Oct. 16.

Officers arrested Torcise on Tuesday at the department’s headquarters in Doral. According to the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office, there was a glitch in a system that picked up an old version of the charge

Court records show corrections released him on a $10,000 bond on Wednesday and the judge ordered him to stay away from the victim and any other minors.

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

When prosecutors realized a system error was to blame, the judge revoked his bond and officers took him back into custody on Thursday.

Officers booked Rick Torcise again on Thursday and corrections officers released him again on Thursday afternoon.

Kuehne disputed the revocation of the bond. The judge ordered corrections to release Torcise on Thursday afternoon. Prosecutors are trying to get him behind bars again.

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.

“We’re very fortunate that they came forward, which is why it’s very important to have that open line of communication with our children, so they can trust us in telling us when these situations are happening,” Colome said about the victim confiding in his father.

Excerpts from the arrest report

Special victims' unit report (MDPD)

Excerpts from the court docket

MDCC (MDCC)

About the Authors:

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.

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.