MIAMI (CBS4) – A Catholic school teacher accused of molesting some of his students spoke candidly with the parents of one of those alleged victims from jail. That jailhouse confession could prove to be key evidence in the criminal and civil cases against Miguel Cala.
Jeffrey Herman is an attorney for the families of four boys who say Cala molested them during music lessons at their homes.
Herman said Cala pleaded the fifth during a deposition with his defense attorney by his side. But it wasn’t until the father and mother of a seven year old boy went to jail, did Herman and his team hear from Cala.
“They wanted to understand how someone brought to them by their church was able to sexually abuse their child,” said Herman. “Miguel Cala is giving them answers.”
Broward County Jail videotapes some of its jailhouse visits and that is how these meetings were captured on camera.
“My desire for love was too much that I blurred the line between you know a grown-up individual and a child,” Cala told the dad in the jailhouse tape. “You know those lines were blurred.”
The seven year old’s father then asked him, “Would it be fair to say that you were looking for love with the kids you were working with?”
Cala responded, “Yeah ,yes, exactly.”
Herman said Cala was kicked out of seminary school in Venezuela. But for some reason, he was recruited by the Miami Arch Diocese to study here in the seminary. However a Miami seminary letter stated, they stopped his seminary studies here too so that he could “engage in serious counseling to deal with anxiety in his life.”
Herman said that’s when Cala began working at Saint Andrew Catholic School, a school run by the Arch Diocese of Miami.
“The Archdiocese of Miami in this case we are alleging put a known predator someone who was not fit to be a priest because of his interest with kids into a school, the one place he shouldn’t be,” said Herman.
In his jailhouse meeting Cala mentioned several potential warning signs for the Arch Diocese.
“I confessed so many times to so many priests,” said Cala. “I used to confess five times a day a week… you know every time I masturbate I would I gotta go to confession because this is the demon that makes me do this.”
The boy’s father then asked Cala, “Up here in Miami too?”
Cala responded, “Well in the seminary yeah.”
Herman said Cala’s confessions to seminary priest as well as an Arch Diocese psychologist are not protected and required those people to report the truth.
“He’s saying that he is a pedofile,”said Herman. “He’s admitting that he abused these kids. He says that he’s always had these urges to have sex with boys and that he made this information known to the seminary before he became a teacher.”
Thursday, in civil court, the Archdiocese of Miami asked a judge to prevent the families of these alleged victims from visiting and talking to Cala in jail. The judge denied that request.
Those families are asking for more than five million dollars in damages.
The Archdiocese of Miami released this statement Thursday afternoon
The Archdiocese of Miami is committed to Protecting Gods Children as outlined in the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young Adults, adopted by the United States bishops and approved by the Holy Father Pope John Paul II in October 2002, and the Archdiocese of Miamis own Policy for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults.
The Archdioceses policy, training and awareness programs provide a safe environment for our children by educating the clergy, parents, teachers, volunteers, and the children with age- and grade-appropriate language. This policy also requires everyone who is employed or volunteers with the Archdiocese to be background-checked through the FDLE and FBI – this includes all clergy, including the archbishop and bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, teachers, teachers aides, classroom volunteers, vendors, and carnival workers. The children are introduced to Teaching Touching Safety which provides guidelines to them on being safe and how to tell an adult if feeling sad, scared or uncomfortable.
As the Archdiocese of Miami continues its commitment to Protecting Gods Children, it remains a steady voice in asking victims of abuse by clergy or church personnel to come forward. Knowing this can be a difficult time in ones life, a victim may contact the local law enforcement agency, the Department of Children and Family Services hotline, or call the Archdiocese of Miamis hotline at 1-866-802-2873 to speak with our Victim Assistance Coordinator, a trained psychologist.
We once again take this opportunity to ask victims of abuse to begin the healing process by coming forward.
From a pastoral, spiritual, moral and legal sense, no pastor, principal or employee would permit the abuse of a child; reporting such abuse is mandatory and the Archdiocese of Miami follows the law and its child protection policies.