Miami Archdiocese Settles Sex Abuse Lawsuit Involving Teen and Catholic Church Youth Minister

In Florida, the Archdiocese of Miami issued a public apology to a teenage girl who was sexually assaulted by a Pinecrest Catholic Church youth minister. The apology is part of the sex abuse settlement the archdiocese reached with the teenager and her family.

In a Florida sexual abuse lawsuit, the girl accused then-19-year old Anthony B. Ricco of assaulting her a number of times in 2006. She also alleges that St. Louis Catholic Church Pastor James Fetscher and Senior Youth Minister Paul Herring knew as early as 2004 that Ricco had sexually molested other girls but failed to notify Florida police or prevent him from abusing other girls. The 15-year-old’s parents reported Ricco to Pinecrest authorities after they found out that he had sexual intercourse with their daughter.

As late as last year, the archdiocese denied it knew about any allegations of sexual abuse involving Ricco, who pleaded no contest to nine counts of lewd and lascivious battery in December 2006, with some of the charges related to his sexual relationship with the teen. As part of Ricco’s plea agreement, the judgment against him was withheld, which means that Ricco technically does not have a criminal record.

The financial terms of the Florida sexual abuse settlement with the Miami Archdiocese remain confidential.

If you or your child was the victim of sexual abuse, Florida personal injury law allows you to file a sexual abuse lawsuit against the perpetrator. Florida is one of a number of US states with a delayed discovery rule. This means that even if you wait a number of years before filing your lawsuit because you repressed the memory of the incident, you may still be able to sue the abuser for compensation. An experienced Miami sexual abuse lawyer can inform you of your legal options.

Sexual abuse is an insidious crime and the physical and emotional damage from such an assault can affect the victim for the rest of his or her life. If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, you may be able to hold the responsible party liable in civil court.

Miami Archdiocese Apologizes In Sex Abuse Lawsuit, CBS4.com, October 16, 2008
Miami Archdiocese issues rare apology in sex-abuse case, MiamiHerald.com, October 17, 2008

Related Web Resources:

The Catholic Church and Sexual Abuse by Priests, AmericanCatholic.org
Archdiocese of Miami