May 24, 2005

Priest sues over job loss

Miami Herald


A Catholic priest from Poland who served nearly five years in churches in Key Largo, Miami and Sunrise sued the Miami Archdiocese on Friday, claiming he was wrongly fired for complaining about financial improprieties and homosexual activity among fellow priests.

According to the lawsuit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, the Rev. Andrew Dowgiert, who was ordained in Poland in 1988 and served in South Florida between 1999 and 2004, is suing on several counts, including breach of employment contract, slander and whistle-blower retaliation. He is seeking reinstatement.

Mary Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami, on Monday denied that Dowgiert was fired. She said he was a visiting priest who was never formally employed by the archdiocese.

''Father Dowgiert has never belonged to the Archdiocese of Miami and served here temporarily with the permission of his Archbishop and Archbishop John Favalora,'' the archdiocese said in an e-mailed statement. ``When it became necessary to end Father Dowgiert's service here, the norms of canon law were followed.''

Dowgiert's suit said the immediate cause of his firing from All Saints Catholic Church in Sunrise was that he resisted an archdiocese attempt to send him away for psychological and alcohol treatment. Dowgiert, whose lawyers said he would not comment Monday, denied any problem with alcohol, the suit said.

Posted by kshaw at May 24, 2005 08:32 AM