Rick Torcise Horowitz Law

Homestead Youth Pastor Rick Torcise Arrested For Sex Misconduct With Teen

Rick Torcise, a youth leader and Pastor at New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of Homestead, Florida, was arrested Tuesday, November 16, 2021, after claims were made that he repeatedly molested a teenage boy from his church. Torcise, age 67, entered a not guilty plea and was sentenced to a first-degree felony sexual battery charge. Torcise was released on a $10,000 bond, and the judge ordered him to stay away from the victim and any other minors.  Detectives fear Torcise may have sexually abused other minors who Torcise met as youth pastor and through a youth baseball league in which he was invovled.

The arrest report states that the 17-year-old victim said he engaged in sexual acts with Ricky Torcise from June to October of this year.  The boy told Miami-Dade police officers that he met Torcise at his church in June and that Torcise hired him to help out on his farm. The victim claims that he was groomed for several months while working on the farm. Finally, the teen confided to his father that Torcise repeatedly molested him and intimidated him into performing sexual acts in October. When they reported it to the Miami-Dade police, the victim stated that Torcise allegedly fondled him, rubbed his hands over the boy’s thighs and buttocks over his clothing several times, and forced him to give and receive oral sex with him. The boy claimed he did so out of fear. 

Detectives and the boy’s attorney fear that Torcise could have groomed and abused many other boys over the years, as he hired dozens to work on his farm. Detective Argemis Colome, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department, commented, “This is a person that the community trusts; this is a person that parents trust to guide their children. We’re asking anybody that may have had any interaction with this individual … this is the time to give us a call. We’re very fortunate that they came forward, which is why it’s very important to have that open line of communication with our children, so they can trust us in telling us when these situations are happening.”

Torcise is a title trustee of New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of Homestead, a youth leader, farmer, and businessman. He was also the manager of Florida Legends Baseball. Torcise’s arraignment is set for December 16. 

Torcise is just one of many authority figures to face charges this year for having inappropriate actions with a minor. This is every parent’s worst nightmare. Parents should feel confident that their children are safe with church officials and trust that their children will be cared for and protected from harm.

Attorney Adam Horowitz has substantial experience representing victims of sexual abuse in the church. If you have been a victim of sexual misconduct by Ricky Torcise or have any knowledge about such events at New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of Homestead, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or e-mail sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz today.

Rev. Peter Foley – Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Reverend Peter Foley

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Rev. Peter Foley Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1967

Retired: 2004

Assignment History

  • 1967: St. Francis of Assisi (Norristown, PA)
  • 1968: Cardinal Dougherty High School (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1971: Pope John Center
  • 1976: Christian Brothers (LaSelle College High School)
  • 1987: St. Philip Neri (Lafayette Hill, PA)
  • 1989: St. Katharine of Siena (Wayne, PA)
  • 1992: St. Christopher (Philadelphia, PA)
  • 1995: Blessed Virgin Mary (Darby, PA)
  • 1995: Cursillo Movement 
  • 1998: St. Jude (Chalfont, PA)
  • 1999: St. Justin Martyr (Narberth, PA)
  • 2000: St. Alphonsus (Maple Glen, PA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Reverend Peter Foley

In a lawsuit filed in a Philadelphia Superior Court, a former student of Cardinal Dougherty High School says Rev. Peter Foley served him alcohol and sexually abused him on a school trip. According to the lawsuit, the abuse occurred in the 1980s when both the student and the priest were working on the school’s student council. 

While Rev. Foley denies the allegations, he admits that he gave the student alcohol on the trip because “[the student] was 17 or 18” and they “were at the Shore.” In the lawsuit, the student said that priests often abused children at church-owned properties at the Shore.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has not issued a statement about the lawsuit, but officials say they have reported the matter to law enforcement. Further details about the case are unavailable at this time. 

Rev. Peter Foley’s Career and Whereabouts

Ordained May 20, 1967, Rev. Peter Foley served approximately 30 years before his retirement in June of 2004. According to the priest’s assignment record, he began working at Cardinal Dougherty High School in 1968. Rev. Foley has also served as chaplain at Christian Brothers (LaSalle College High School) from 1976 to 1987. 

Rev. Foley currently lives at a church-run retirement facility in Upper Darby. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia may have legal options, but filing deadlines will apply so please do not delay in reaching out to us.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Leslie Wolfe Horowitz Law

Tamarac School Teacher Leslie Wolfe Arrested, Admits to Sexual Abuse of Student

On Friday, November 12, 2021, Plantation police arrested Leslie Wolfe, a sixth-grade teacher at Bethlehem Junior Academy in Tamarac, for allegedly sexually molesting a 12-year-old female student while tutoring her at West Broward Regional Library in Plantation, Florida. Wolfe, age 63, was charged with lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim 12-16 years old by an offender 18 years old or older, and lewd and lascivious conduct by a person 18 years old or older.

According to media reports, Wolfe was taken into police custody after the victim told her mother that she met Wolfe in a study room at the library for a private tutoring session. During their meeting, the girl claims that Wolfe sexually abused her. The mother then called the teacher about the allegations and Wolfe stated that it was the devil that made him do it and apologized profusely. Wolfe also told the alleged victim’s mother that he contacted his church and was going to attempt to get help in reference to the devil making him perform these acts.

The arrest affidavit states that the victim was not a student at Bethlehem. Wolfe has been a private math and chemistry tutor for decades and he has tutored countless children over the years at various South Florida locations. Police are concerned there are more victims. Wolfe was held on a $150,000 bond at the Broward County Main Jail.

When contacted for a statement, a representative at Bethlehem Junior Academy had no comment about the disturbing allegations.

Leslie Wolfe is just one of several South Florida teachers to face charges this year for having inappropriate actions with a student. This is every parent’s worst nightmare. Schools should always be a place where parents can trust that their children will be cared for and protected from harm.

Horowitz Law has substantial experience representing victims of sexual abuse in the school system. If you have been a victim of sexual misconduct by Leslie Wolfe or have any knowledge about such events at Bethlehem Junior Academy or West Broward Regional Library, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or e-mail sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz today.

Jossie Calderon Horowitz Law

Miami Lakes Teacher Jossie Calderon Arrested For Sexual Misconduct With Two Students

Jossie Calderon, a math teacher at Barbara Goleman Senior High School in Miami Lakes, was arrested on Friday, November 12, 2021, for alleged sexual misconduct with  two female students. Calderon, age 27, was charged on two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation of a child between 12-16 years old, two counts of offenses against students by authority figures, two counts of child abuse without great bodily harm, and one count of battery.

According to media reports, Calderon was taken into police custody after multiple claims were recently made against him. On November 1, 2021, a 15-year-old female student told the school’s guidance counselor that Calderon rubbed her on the lower back and buttocks during a chess club meeting. The student also claims this was the second time Calderon touched her inappropriately. According to the arrest report, the first time was in September 2021, when the South Florida teacher felt up the student’s legs and touched her thighs. She told the counselor that he left his hand there for an extended period, which made her feel uncomfortable. The police report also states that Calderon touched the victim’s “buttocks over her clothes, caressing her.” A video was obtained from the school that confirmed the student’s allegations.  “It was not a tap, instead, the offender placed his hand on the victim’s legs and left his hand there for several moments,” stated the first student.

On November 5, a second student reported to the school’s resource officer that she was molested by Calderon during a math tutoring class. The 16-year-old victim claims that Calderon also touched her on two separate occasions while she was in Calderon’s class seeking extra credit for math class.

The second victim states, “He approached me from the rear and introduced his right hand under my sweater by the neck area.” She also said that Calderon “softly rubbed her back.”

According to the arrest report, both victims are seeking counseling for trauma they endured. Calderon was released after posting $21,500 bail. A court date has not been set yet.

Jossie Calderon is just one of several South Florida teachers to face charges this year for having inappropriate actions with a student. This is every parent’s worst nightmare. Schools should always be a place where parents can trust that their children will be cared for and protected from harm.

Attorney Adam Horowitz has substantial experience representing victims of sexual abuse in the school system. If you have been a victim of sexual misconduct by Jossie Calderon or have any knowledge about such events at Barbara Goleman Senior High School, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or e-mail sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz today.

Fr. Etienne LeBlanc – Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

Fr. Etienne LeBlanc

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

Fr. Etienne LeBlanc Horowitz Law Ordained: 1971

Removed: 2007

Assignment History

  • 1970-1971: St. Francis de Sales Parish (New Orleans, LA)
  • 1971-1975 Pastor at St. Peter’s Catholic Church (Reserve, LA)
  • 1975-1976: Our Lady of Prompt Succor (Westwego, LA)
  • 1980-1987: St. Thomas Aquinas (Thibodaux, LA)
  • 1987-2000: Holy Cross Catholic Church (Morgan City, LA)
  • 2001: St. Hilary of Poitiers (Mathews, LA)
  • 2001-2004: Holy Family (Dulac, LA)
  • 2001-2004: St. Eloi Catholic Church (Dularge, LA)
  • 2004-2007: Annunziata Catholic Church (Houma, LA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Etienne LeBlanc

In January 2019, the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux publicly named Fr. Etienne LeBlanc on its list of priests who admitted to, or were convicted of, sexual misconduct with children. According to the list, Fr. LeBlanc allegedly abused a minor in the mid-1990s. 

The Rape Allegation

In 2007, a former altar boy accused Fr. Etienne LeBlanc of raping him in Holy Cross Catholic Church rectory in the mid-1990s. 

The abuse allegedly started when the victim asked Fr. LeBlanc to be an altar boy. The victim says although he was initially turned down as altar boy because he was too young, Fr. LeBlanc allegedly told the victim if he performed a sexual favor for him, the victim could become an altar boy. 

According to reports, the abuse lasted for approximately six years. The victim says he ended his service when he was approximately 15, and that contact with Fr. LeBlanc ended subsequently after. 

Ultimately, the diocese settled with the victim and stripped Fr. Etienne LeBlanc of his priestly duties. 

Other Allegations

While the Houma-Thibodaux diocese did not mention any other allegations in its 2019 list, sources say another victim came forward, claiming he had a relationship with Fr. LeBlanc when he was 17 and that the church knew. 

Since the initial allegation, reports indicate that more victims have accused Fr. Etienne LeBlanc of pressuring them into sexual relationships with him when they were children. 

Fr. Etienne LeBlanc’s Career and Whereabouts

Ordained in 1971, Fr. Etienne LeBlanc served for more than 40 years before the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux removed him from ministry. According to news reports, Fr. LeBlanc has served primarily in the Houma––Bayou Cane––Thibodaux area. Sources also say Fr. LeBlanc served on Nicholls State University’s campus. 

Fr. LeBlanc was removed from ministry in 2007. According to a phone listing, Fr. LeBlanc is now living in Port Orange, Florida. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Louisiana, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux may now have legal options but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Louisiana and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

 

Fr. Ramon Luce – Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

Father Ramon Luce

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

Fr. Ramon Luce Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1995

Removed: Unknown

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Ramon Luce

In January 2019, the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux publicly named Fr. Ramon Luce on its list of priests who admitted to, or were convicted of, sexual misconduct with children. According to the diocese, Fr. Luce allegedly engaged in “serious and unacceptable conduct with minors.” Fr. Luce voluntarily left the ministry before church officials stripped him of his priestly duties. 

The diocese did not disclose any additional information about the scope or nature of the abuse. Information about Fr. Luce’s whereabouts is also unavailable. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Louisiana, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux may now have legal options but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Louisiana and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

 

Fr. Robert Melancon – Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

Father Robert Melancon

Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

 

Fr. Robert Melancon Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1962

Removed: 1997

Death: 2018

Assignment History

  • 1974-1984: St. Genevieve Church (Thibodaux, LA)
  • 1985-1991: Annunziata (Houma, LA)
  • 1993-1995:  Sacred Heart Church (Cut Off, LA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Robert Melancon

In January 2019, the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux publicly named Fr. Robert Melancon on its list of priests who admitted to, or were convicted of, sexual misconduct with children. According to the list, Fr. Melancon was convicted of raping an 8-year-old altar boy and was sentenced to life in prison. 

1996 Trial and Conviction 

In 1996, a 17-year-old boy went to Houma police, and informed them Fr. Robert Melancon had sexually abused him from 1985 to 1991. According to reports, Fr. Melancon started “fondling and kissing” the victim in the rectory when the victim was approximately seven years old. 

Nearly two years later, the nature and frequency of the abuse reportedly began to intensify. At trial, the victim testified that Fr. Melancon raped him after weddings, baptisms, and funerals. The abuse lasted for years until Fr. Melancon transferred to the Sacred Heart Church in Cutoff. 

In less than two hours, the jury convicted Fr. Melancon, and court officials carried him to prison to begin his life sentence. 

Previous Instances of Abuse

Not only did Fr. Robert Melancon’s trial result in his conviction, it also brought an increased awareness to the priest’s sexual history with minors. During the trial, Fr. Melancon admitted he was an active pedophile and had groomed a 12-year-old boy a decade prior. 

Evidence was also introduced that another man came forward in 1993, claiming Fr. Melancon raped him when he was a teenager and that the abuse continued into the man’s 20s. The diocese reportedly settled with the man for $30,000. 

Fr. Robert Melancon’s Career and Whereabouts

Ordained in 1962, Fr. Robert Melancon spent nearly 34 years in ministry before his conviction and subsequent removal in 1997. 

Fr. Robert Melancon died in November 2018. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux in Louisiana. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Louisiana, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux may now have legal options but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Louisiana and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

 

Aaron Hamid Horowitz Law

Miami High School Teacher Aaron Hamid Surrenders After Charged With Having Sex With Student

Aaron Aziz Hamid, a teacher at John A. Ferguson Senior High School in Miami, surrendered to Miami-Dade Police on Monday, November 8, 2021, after being arrested for sexual abuse of a 16-year-old student. Hamid, age 27, was taken into custody, and then charged with three felony counts, including offenses against students by authority figures and unlawful sexual activity with a specified minor.

According to media reports, an investigation began in October 2021, after Hamid was accused of inappropriate behavior with a student. At the start of the Covid pandemic, the then 16-year-old alleged victim was a junior in Hamid’s advanced placement history class, which she attended via Zoom.

According to police reports, Hamid and his student began communicating using the Remind App Communication platform and exchanged phone numbers. The student told police that Hamid would often pick her up and that sexual activity took place in his car or at his Cutler Bay home while he was still her teacher. The report stated that the student’s best friend notified a school staff member in October that an inappropriate relationship was going on and the police were then contacted. 

The alleged victim stated that the defendant contacted her the morning that the alleged incident was reported, and she deleted content that could be incriminating information from her phone. The arrest report also states that the sexual contact between Hamid and his student lasted approximately one year. 

Although Hamid was not arrested until he surrendered on November 8, he was placed on an alternate assignment while the allegation was investigated. District officials say he has now been fired. Miami-Dade County Public Schools released the following statement regarding the arrest: “An allegation of this nature against any one of our employees is disheartening and illicit behavior will not be tolerated. Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) will continue to remind employees of their professional, moral and ethical duties and responsibilities. As a result of this arrest, this individual’s employment with M-DCPS will be terminated immediately and he will be prevented from seeking future work with the District.”

Hamid is just one of several South Florida teachers to face charges this year for having inappropriate actions with a student. This is every parent’s worst nightmare. Schools should always be a place where parents can trust that their children will be cared for and protected from harm.

Attorney Adam Horowitz has substantial experience representing victims of sexual abuse in the school system. If you have been a victim of sexual misconduct by Aaron Hamid or have any knowledge about such events at John A. Ferguson Senior High School, please contact our law firm at (888) 283-9922 or e-mail sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz today.

Biltmore Hotel Massage Therapist Facing Criminal Charges

Oscar Ojeda Horowitz Law

Oscar Ojeda, the former lead massage therapist at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida is facing criminal charges after a female client reported that he touched her genitals during a massage in April, 2021. Oscar Ojeda, age 39, was charged with two counts of misdemeanor battery for incidents involving two separate clients.

According to law enforcement records, a woman came to the spa at the Biltmore Hotel for a deep tissue massage.  During the massage appointment, Ojeda groped her upper thigh and her genitals several times. After the massage ended, the woman reported the alleged sexual assault to the hotel staff.

However, according to police reports, this is not the first time a woman reported Ojeda’s sexual misconduct to Biltmore staff. Two other women accused the massage therapist of unwanted sexual touching during their massages in 2017 and 2020. Police say out of the three known allegations, prosecutors were only able to file charges in two of them due to statute of limitations.

In its response, the Biltmore Hotel released a statement, calling Ojeda a former employee. Ojeda, licensed in 2011, still has his license, as Florida’s Department of Health has not announced an update. 

Updates on Oscar Ojeda

After his surrender on May 13, the Coral Gables Police department transferred Oscar Ojeda to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, sources say. He was released on a $3,000 bond. His preliminary hearing will be on Nov. 3. 

All massage therapists in Florida are licensed by the Florida Department of Health. If your massage therapist makes any sexual contact with you, it is a violation of professional ethics and may be a crime.  In addition to reporting misconduct to law enforcement, if this incident occurs in Florida, you should also lodge a complaint with the Department of Health at this website: https://www.flhealthcomplaint.gov

If you have been a victim of sexual assault during a massage at any spa or massage business, or if you know someone who has, please contact our law firm at (954) 641-2100 or send an email to sexual abuse lawyer Adam Horowitz at adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com

Pennsylvania Priest Arrested after Confrontation with Child Predator Catcher

Rev. Gregory Loughney Horowitz Law It was late Friday evening when Pocono Mountain Regional Police received an incriminating call from Rev. Gregory Loughney. “I made a mistake, and I need to report myself,” Rev. Loughney said in the call. 

Rev. Loughney placed the call after he was confronted by an adult man who posed as a 15-year-old to catch, expose, and report the priest.  

Sources say Rev. Loughney arrived at a gas station in Pennsylvania to have a three-way with two teenage boys. Rev. Loughney was arrested and charged with attempted sexual assault of minors, corruption of minors, indecent assault, and criminal use of a cell phone. 

According to the police, the priest was going to take the boys back to his house. Shortly after Rev. Loughney’s arrest, the Diocese of Scranton announced that Loughney was removed from active ministry “pending the outcome of the investigation.” 

Factual Background

According to news reports, the Rev. Gregory Loughney met one of the minors, “Cyrus,” on a dating app. The priest texted sexually explicit messages and pictures, believing Cyrus was a minor. Cyrus was actually an adult member of 507 Predator Catchers, a group that poses as minors to catch predators. 

Believing Cyrus was having a hard time, Rev. Loughney invited the boy and his friend over to his place for dinner and cookies

Rev. Loughney’s Career and Whereabouts

Ordained in 2015, Rev. Gregory Loughney was a pastor at Most Holy Trinity Parish in Cresco, Monroe County when he was arrested. The Diocese of Scranton says it informed Rev. Loughney’s past assignments of his arrest. 

Rev. Loughney is currently being held at Monroe County Prison, awaiting his preliminary hearing.  

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Scranton. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Pennsylvania, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Scranton may have legal options, but filing deadlines apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Pennsylvania and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.