Miami archdiocese sued over alleged abuse

Aug. 18, 2011 at 10:43 AM
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MIAMI, Aug. 18 (UPI) -- The Archdiocese of Miami has been sued over allegations a now-retired priest sexually abused three young boys in the 1960s, officials said.

The suits claim Father Neil Flemming, now in his 80s and living in Florida, abused three boys between the ages of 12 and 14 at Boystown, a former residential home in Southwest Miami-Dade for troubled boys, The Miami Herald reported.

"As always, the Catholic Church's concerns are for the victims and a prevailing sense of justice," a statement released by the Archdiocese said. "In addition, over the past nine years, the archdiocese has been forthcoming and taken steps to keep children safe through training and background screenings of all its employees."

An attorney representing the alleged victims, which are seeking more than $5 million in damages, said his clients have come forward to encourage other potential victims to talk about their pain.

"These victims are coming forward now because they want to encourage other victims to come forward and not suffer in silence," said Jeff Herman, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs. "They are now just feeling strong enough to come forward and get help."

Herman has represented four other cases in which victims alleged Flemming assaulted them. Those cases were reportedly settled out of court. Efforts to reach Flemming were unsuccessful, the newspaper said.

Flemming was named director of Boystown in 1965, after the victims alleged they were first assaulted.

"We are alleging that they served up victims to him," Herman said.

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