Priest accused of covering up abuse

3rd lawsuit filed against Rolando Garcia, pastor at St. Agatha Catholic Church in West Miami-Dade

MIAMI - A priest in the Archdiocese of Miami faces new allegations of helping cover up another priest's alleged abuse.

A third lawsuit has been filed against Father Rolando Garcia, the pastor at St. Agatha Catholic Church in West Miami-Dade.

"He was paying me to keep quiet," said the alleged victim, who asked not to be identified.

The victim said he was abused as a teen by Cristobal Puertas, another priest. The allegations stem back to 2003, but there are also claims of cash being used by Garcia to cover it up.

"Father Garcia told this boy I know what's going on between you and father Cristobal and gave the boy money," said Jeffrey Herman, the victim's attorney. "Now, this info was told to the Archdiocese last year when they secretly settled his lawsuit."

"And he's still there. So what did they settle?" said the victim.

About 500 people have signed an online petition to have Garcia removed.

"I've heard from many parents who are concerned about the safety and well being of their children at St. Agatha," said Herman.

"I'm upset. This man is preaching to hundreds of people out there and he's wearing a mask. He abused me and he's continuing to do it to other children," said the victim.

This is the third lawsuit filed against Garcia, who has been the pastor of St. Agatha for 11 years.

The Archdiocese of Miami issued a statement regarding the case, saying, in part: Mr. Herman is quoting from the 2010 lawsuit; however, what Mr. Herman has failed to reveal is the outcome of the 2010 lawsuit. The victim, during the investigation, stated that he never reported the abuse to anyone; in addition, the allegations regarding Fr. Garcia were found to be inaccurate.

You can read the full statement here.

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