The Archdiocese of Miami, along with top Vatican authorities, knew as far back as 1968 that the Rev. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio, a priest later defrocked amid child sex-abuse allegations, had a troubled past in Cuba before transferring to South Florida, lawyers representing victims claimed Monday.
The lawyers say the Vatican's role is similar to what is alleged in the scandal now unfolding in Wisconsin, where top Catholic officials are accused of failing to defrock a priest accused of molesting some 200 deaf boys in a long career that paralleled the Miami cleric's. Pope Benedict XVI was in charge of the Vatican office that reviewed such cases when he served as Cardinal Ratzinger.
"It was a longstanding and well-known secret that the Vatican and Archdiocese of Miami knew exactly what Ernesto Garcia-Rubio was capable of," said Aventura attorney Jessica Arbour who with lawyer Stuart Mermelstein have filed several suits against the archdiocese involving Garcia-Rubio.
Garcia-Rubio, now 73, was celebrated as the Archdiocese of Miami's "patron saint" of young Central American and Cuban refugee boys who flocked to his Our Lady of Divine Providence in Sweetwater in the 1980s. He served there from 1975-88.
In the confidential, Sept. 3, 1968, letter, Washington-based Apostolic Delegate Luigi Raimondi warned then-Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll that Garcia-Rubio "was forced to leave Cuba because of serious difficulties of a moral nature (homosexuality)." Raimondi inserted the parentheses around the word homosexuality.
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