A prominent South Florida priest has taken a temporary leave of absence as allegations of sexual misconduct against him are investigated, Archdiocese of Miami spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said Monday.
A civil complaint was filed against Father Daniel Kubala of Miami's St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church and Parish last month. In the complaint, the unnamed plaintiff alleges Kubala made two unwanted sexual advances towards the plaintiff, identified as "John Doe," back in April.
An adult male worker at the church has made the accusations, Ross Agosta said in a statement.
The complaint does not include the plaintiff's age, but does note that he is 5 feet 1 inches tall, weighs 125 pounds, and has the appearance of a teenaged male. His attorney said his client has a female companion, and that the two share a child.
Kubala denies the accusations against him, but has requested a leave of absence so he is not a distraction while a full investigation is conducted, Ross Agosta said.
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The first encounter reportedly occurred April 8 in a building called "La Filomena" on the grounds of St. Thomas. Doe said Kubala lured him into a bedroom where he later allegedly kissed him and groped the plaintiff's genitalia, while saying he "wanted his body."
"I think, when this first occurred, it was the first time that it actually dawned on him that a man that he respected and held in very high regard as a priest would take such acts," said the plaintiff's attorney, Benjamin Alvarez.
The plaintiff claimed in his complaint that after he rebuffed the advance, Kubala told him to come back later that night after having some whiskey to "make it better."
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The plaintiff said he reported the incident to police immediately afterward. The complaint notes a second unwanted advance made by Kubala on April 29. At that time, Kubala is alleged to have offered the plaintiff $200.
The complaint also suggests the Archdiocese of Miami attempted to cover up the allegations, and perhaps others.
Ross Agosta said, however, that St. Thomas parishioners were notified about the allegations via letters from Archbishop Thomas Wenski and Father Kubala that were read aloud in masses held on May 11 and 12.
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Alvarez said his client is not after revenge, but justice.
"We have some understanding that not only the Father [Kubala], but, you know, certain Catholic priests have been found to engage in that type of behavior, and unfortunately, it's been plead, and eventually, my client will have his day in court," Alvarez said.
The complaint seeks some $15,000 in damages for the plaintiff, whose custodial job was lost within weeks of the incidents. The plaintiff claims he has suffered physical injury and psychological distress.
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