Miami Archdiocese Settled Abuse Cases

Associated Press/March 21, 2002

Miami -- The Archdiocese of Miami has acknowledged that it secretly made financial settlements of sex abuse accusations brought by several men against a Roman Catholic priest.

A spokeswoman for the archdiocese, Mary Ross Agosta, said on Tuesday that church leaders had promptly removed the priest and followed church guidelines for dealing with the accusations. She declined to say more, citing the settlements' confidentiality provisions.

But a lawyer for two of the accusers identified the priest as the Rev. Joseph Cinesi.

"People should know that these things are going on," said the lawyer, Russell S. Adler, "and I'm glad that the shroud of secrecy is unraveling."

Mr. Adler said his clients won settlements in the late 1990's for incidents that had occurred when Father Cinesi was at St. Jerome Catholic Church in Fort Lauderdale. Later, in August 1999, Father Cinesi stepped down from St. Maurice Catholic Church in Broward County, saying he wanted to fight false accusations.

The archdiocese said he could not be reached for comment today.

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