Sunday, November 28, 2010

More charges

Jailed teacher faces new molestation suit
.A Broward family says a former Catholic school teacher molested their son. The family is suing the Archdiocese of Miami.

Miguel Cala, 37, a former music and art teacher at St. Andrew's Catholic school, was named in a new sexual abuse lawsuit filed against the Archdiocese of Miami on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2010.
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Two Broward County parents who say a former music teacher at a Catholic school molested their son are suing the Archdiocese of Miami.

In a complaint filed Tuesday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, the parents, identified only as Mother Doe No. 70 and Father Doe No. 70, say their son, John Doe No. 70, was molested several times between 2008 and August of this year during private music lessons in his home by Miguel Cala, who taught music at St. Andrew's Catholic School and parish in Coral Springs.

``Cala used his position as a teacher and music minister to identify potential victims, and he used these positions to gain trust of the victims and their families,'' says the lawsuit, filed by Aventura attorney Jeffrey Herman.

Herman has filed dozens of sex-abuse lawsuits against the archdiocese, including a similar lawsuit filed in October that said Cala sexually abused another child from the school.

The latest lawsuit claims that the school and archdiocese had received multiple complaints about Cala since 2000 and that the archdiocese undertook ``no investigation or responsive action.''

On Tuesday, Herman released a Feb. 23 letter, written by a pediatrician of one of Cala's students to administrators of the school, that said Cala ``routinely insults, threatens and intimidates'' students. The letter said the student ``expresses great reluctance'' to go to school and asked for an investigation into Cala. The letter did not mention sexual abuse.

Cala, 37, resigned for unspecified reasons from St. Andrew's school in May and is in jail awaiting trial on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation of a victim under 12 years of age and lewd or lascivious conduct. He was arrested Sept. 3, when he turned himself in to police in Virginia after leaving South Florida when the charges were filed in August.

The charges that led to his arrest were related to a St. Andrew's student who was allegedly molested during an off-campus tutoring session in August.

``From a pastoral, spiritual, moral and legal sense, no pastor, principal or employee would permit the abuse of a child; reporting such abuse is mandatory and the Archdiocese of Miami follows the law and its child protection policies,'' archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said in a statement on Tuesday.

Agosta made reference to an October statement regarding Cala, in which she said the archdiocese and school have ``cooperated fully with the Broward Sheriff's Office.'' The school notified parents of Cala's arrest on Sept. 7, she said, telling them to ``reach out to their children and speak to them about inappropriate behavior.''

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