February 16, 2005

South Florida priest retires after new sex abuse lawsuit

Bradenton Herald

Associated Press

MIAMI - A Roman Catholic priest who gained popularity with a cable television show abruptly retired after a newly filed lawsuit accused him of sexual abuse in the early 1980s, the Archdiocese of Miami said.

The Rev. Ricardo Castellanos, 59, submitted his retirement letter last week and it was accepted, church spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta said Tuesday.

Castellanos, who was fighting five other abuse allegations by former altar boys and youths, had been on administrative leave as pastor of San Isidro Church in Pompano Beach since spring 2002.

Castellanos' attorney, James Nosich, said Tuesday his client strongly denies ever abusing any youth as a priest.

"He believes he's innocent - 100 percent," Nosich said.

Posted by kshaw at February 16, 2005 03:47 AM