A South Florida Catholic School may have to pay for the sins of one of its former employees after a mom filed a lawsuit claiming sexual abuse of her son.
The unnamed woman claims Miguel Leonardo Cala, a former music and preschool teacher at St. Andrews Catholic School in Coral Springs, fondled her child during private music lessons for almost a year from 2009 until August.
Cala, 37, worked at the school for 10 years. The lawsuit claims the music teacher used his position at the parish to gain his victims' parents' trust and then sexual abused them. The lawsuit also names the church and the Archdiocese of Miami.
Cala was arrested in Virginia last month on separate charges of sexual abuse of another boy in Florida he gave private lessons to. Jeffrey Herman, the attorney for the South Florida family, said criminal charges may be pending in this case.
The family did not learn about their sons sexual abuse case until they went to police after Cala did not show up for multiple music lessons. That's when the boy told his mom about what had been happening, attorneys said.
"He said, 'Yeah, Mr. Cala touches me. He touches me all the time. He says that's the way men hug,'" Herman said.
The victim's family claims the school did not do a proper check on Cala, who they hired because of his association with the school. Therefore St. Andrews is partly responsible, the lawsuit alleges.
"This violation of our trust has changed my life and the life of my family forever," the unnamed woman said at a press conference Wednesday. "I know there are other children out there hurting."
The school has no comment on the issue, which is usually the case when such allegations arise.
The Archdiocese of Miami said they did properly check Cala out and that he was hired as a private contractor by the family. A spokesperson stopped short of saying the church was not responsible for what happened.