October 17, 2005

CPA, priest's attorney spar in Miami

Renew America

Nancy Heise of Parkland, Fla., sent the following (edited) letter to attorneys involved in the Father Andrew Dowgiert case in Miami:

Dear Mr. Titone, Mr. Vieth, and Ms. Bourassa,

I am a parishioner at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Coral Springs, Fla. This church is the largest parish within the Archdiocese of Miami. My husband and I were married there in 1989. We have four children, all of whom have been through Catholic school there; two are still there and one is at a Catholic high school.

I have been in ministry within the Church since 1996: I volunteer at a soup kitchen in Pompano Beach that is staffed by parishioners from Catholic churches all over. I know the church cleaning lady who has cleaned the priest's home for St. Andrew for 10 years. Our church is the starting point for many area pastors. We have been a revolving door for priests who come here first to get experience and then move on to become pastors elsewhere. ...

I am writing to complain to you about your activities which I have tried to corroborate with the vast number of people I know who would have firsthand knowledge of what you are alleging. No one seems to be able to corroborate Ms. Bourassa's accounts. I have asked her for evidence to support her claims, but she has not complied. I have witnessed a local priest who is accused of being gay, and I know he is not. He was engaged to be married to a woman before his decision to become a priest. He loved her and wanted a family. Now there are whispers about his character. I can tell you he is one of the most loved and decent people on this earth.

Your efforts to bolster your dismissed lawsuit Father Andrew Dowgiert, a priest who was referred to a mental and alcohol rehab center by the archdiocese is hurting people not connected to the lawsuit. It is causing scandal, spreading unsubstantiated rumor, and is, I believe, a form of slander and libel that is either illegal or unethical.

Posted by kshaw at October 17, 2005 08:04 AM