MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A woman who says she was sexually battered by a Catholic priest in Homestead back in October says she was told to keep quiet by a senior clergyman.
The woman, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald, says she told Silverio Rueda and he told her that she had been “touched by God” and then he asked her to “close her mouth.”
This is what she says happened, according to the Herald:
“He told me that things happen, and they happen for a reason, and that I was — that I was touched by God,” the woman told the cops. “If I was touched by God, and that I was blessed, and that if I said anything, I could be hurting the church. And with his hand, he made a sign across his mouth saying to, quote, close my mouth.”
Father Jean Claude Philippe is charged with sexual battery on an incapacitated person and police said the attack happened on church property.
Philippe assaulted a woman inside his home on the grounds of Sacred Heart Church in South Miami-Dade County, police said.
The woman says she went to visit Philippe but blacked out for several hours after drinking a cup of tea he gave her.
She would often visit him when he was sick or stop by the house with her kids to chat.
Philippe confessed to massaging the woman with oil and touching her inappropriately.
The Archdiocese of Miami says it was told about the incident on March 4th and told the victim to contact police.
It also says “Archbishop Thomas Wenski has removed Father Jean Philippe from Sacred Heart Catholic Church, placing him on administrative leave.”
The Archdiocese says it will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement during the investigation.