Friday, August 27, 2010

Ex-Central Catholic priest made teen pregnant, lawsuit says

Ex-Central Catholic priest made teen pregnant, lawsuit says

By Holly Herman
Reading Eagle

The Rev. Luis A. Bonilla Margarito in 2003

A Muhlenberg Township couple filed a lawsuit in Berks County Court on Thursday, accusing the Allentown Diocese of failing to prevent a former Central Catholic High School priest from impregnating their 19-year-old daughter.

The parents, whose names are being withheld by the Reading Eagle, are seeking more than $300,000 in damages, according to the suit filed by Jay N. Abramowitch of Wyomissing.

The following also were named as defendants: the Rev. Luis A. Bonilla Margarito, Bishop John O. Barres and former Bishop Edward P. Cullen.

The suit claims Bonilla had an inappropriate sexual relationship with the teen while she was a senior in the 2008-09 school year.

Matthew Kerr, diocese spokesman, said Bonilla, 40, was removed in November from his assignment as a pastor at St. Joseph Church, 1018 N. Eighth St., and as chaplain at the high school.

According to the suit:

The teen, who graduated in 2009, became acquainted with Bonilla in the 2008-09 school year.

The parents said they became aware their daughter was spending too much time with Bonilla and they reported it to school officials, who they said did nothing.

The parents hid a video camera in their basement and in November 2009 it recorded the teen having sex with Bonilla.

The parents reported the contents of the video to the diocese, and Bonilla was removed from his assignments and placed in a treatment program, where he remains.

The daughter continued a relationship with Bonilla via text messaging and telephone. The teen recently gave birth to a daughter.

Bonilla was ordained in 2000.

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