Tag: Diocese of St. Petersburg

Fr. Ronald Luka – Diocese of Rockville Centre

Father Ronald Luka

Diocese of Rockville Centre, CMF

Ronald Luka Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1963

Removed: 2002

Assignment History:

  • 1966- Unknown:    SUNY Farmingdale & NY Institute of Technology
  • 1970-1975:             Newman Apostolate (Garden City, NY)
  • 1975-1978:             St. Helen’s Catholic school (Lauderdale Lakes, FL)
  • 1980-1981:             Our Lady of Ransom (Niles, IL)
  • 1982:                       Nativity Catholic Church (Brandon, FL)
  • 1984-1999:             Claretian Provincial House (Oak Park, IL)
  • 1999:                       Wounded Brothers Project (Robertsville, MO)

Summary of Abuse Allegations Against Father Ronald Luka:

Fr. Ronald Luka of the Claretian Missionaries is listed on the Diocese of Rockville Centre’s 2021 List of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor. The list states that the alleged sexual abuse occurred while Luka worked at SUNY Farmingdale in Nassau County, NY, sometime between 1966-1975. The list also says that Luka abused his victim(s) at a rectory in Long Island, a Boy Scout Camp in upstate New York, a farm in upstate New York, and at his private house in upstate NY. The details of the sexual abuse allegations, including the victim’s age/gender, are unknown.

In 2002, a civil lawsuit was filed by two men against Fr. Luka and the Archdiocese of Miami, alleging that they were sexually abused between 1976 and 1978 while attending St. Helen Catholic School in Lauderdale Lakes, FL. The suit accuses Luka of ingratiating himself with the boys’ families and then molesting them at his Fort Lauderdale home, during overnight religious retreats, and during a summer cross-country trip in 1978, where Luka allegedly forced the boys to watch behavior that included stripping, dancing naked, and self-stimulation.

According to the suit, the two victims were both 12 and in the sixth grade when Luka invited them separately to his house after school, where the initial abuse took place. The suit claims that Luka took one of the boys on an archdiocese-sponsored weekend retreat at a campground. Once there, the priest and the boy shared Luka’s pop-up camper, which had two beds. Fr. Luka climbed into the boy’s bed for both nights of the retreat and committed numerous acts of sexual battery and abuse.

Simultaneously, the other plaintiff in the suit claimed he was similarly abused at Luka’s home during after-school hours. The lawsuit states that there were back-scratching and massages, leading to genital fondling and masturbation. The abuse was reported to the school in 1978, and they promised to take appropriate action, but Luka was gone the next school year.

Originally from Chicago, Fr. Luka was assigned to the Claretian mission house in the Chicago area in the 1980s and 1990s and often traveled to the East Coast.

According to the lawsuit, the Claretians received their first allegation against Luka in 1999 of abuse occurring in NY state around 1979. After learning of the allegations, the Claretian Missionaries sent the priest to St. Luke’s Institute in Maryland, a church-sponsored treatment center for priests. After a 30-day treatment, it was determined that Luka be permanently removed from public ministry. Luka was then sent to live at the Wounded Brothers Project in Robertsville, MO, a halfway house for troubled priests. He’s under 24-hour supervision. 

He is also listed on the Diocese of St. Petersburg’s 2016 List of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Rockville Centre in New York.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in New York, contact our office today. In October 2020, the Rockville Centre Diocese filed for federal bankruptcy protection.  The Court will resolve all claims of sexual abuse in this process but strict filing deadlines will apply and no late claims will be considered, so contact us today.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in New York and nationwide. We can help. 

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

Fr. Ignatius Tuoc – Diocese of St. Petersburg

Father Ignatius Tuoc

Diocese of St. Petersburg

Ignatius Tuoc Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1971

Assignment History:

  • Christ the King (Tampa, FL)
  • St. Patrick (Largo, FL)
  • St. Mary Our Lady of Grace (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • Blessed Trinity Parish (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • St. Timothy Parish (Tampa, FL)
  • Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church (Tampa, FL)
  • St. Joseph’s Vietnamese Mission (Tampa, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Ignatius Tuoc:

In 2003, Father Ignatius Tuoc was temporarily removed after the Diocese of St. Petersburg received a complaint from a female parishioner of Epiphany of Our Lord Catholic Church, claiming the priest sexually abused her. The woman claims the abuse started in the 1990s, when she was 13 years old, and continued until she was 26.

Tuoc was allowed to continue at Epiphany after the review board could not find enough evidence to corroborate the victim’s story.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

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

Fr. Keith Symons – Diocese of St. Petersburg

Father Keith Symons

Diocese of St. PetersburgKeith Symons  Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1958

Retired: 1998

Assignment History:

  • 1958-1959: St. Monica’s (Palatka, FL)
  • 1959-1961: St. Patrick’s (Pinellas Park, FL)
  • 1961-1962: Sacred Heart (Pinellas Park, FL)
  • 1962-1966: St. Paul’s (Leesburg, FL)
  • 1966-1969: St. John the Apostle (Samoset, FL)
  • 1966-1971: St. Joseph’s (Bradenton, FL)
  • 1971-1981: St. Mary Our Lady of Grace (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • 1981-1983: St. Catherine of Siena (Largo, FL)
  • 1983-1990: Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee
  • 1990-1998: Bishop of Palm Beach

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Keith Symons:

A Michigan native, Joseph Keith Symons was ordained in 1958 for the St. Augustine Diocese. When the Diocese split in 1968, Symons ministered for the Diocese of St. Petersburg. He held numerous chancery positions there, was elevated to Auxiliary Bishop in 1981, and was appointed Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee in 1983.

In 1994, Symons was accused of sexually abusing a minor, and the following year, Symons admitted it. Symons claimed that was his only victim and was allowed to remain in ministry. In 1998, another man disclosed sexual abuse as a child by Symons. Symons resigned several days later and admitted to having sexually abused five boys early in his career. Bishop Symons returned to, Michigan where he lived in a convent and led adult spiritual retreats.

Investigation records show Catholic Church officials were aware that Bishop J. Keith Symons molested altar boys three years before he was forced to resign. Records also show that while serving as St. Petersburg’s Chancellor in the early 1970s, he accepted into the Diocese a known perpetrator of sexual abuse of children. Symons quietly left cash for the mother of two of that priest’s victims when she confronted him years later, thus proving injustice.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

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

Mr. Scott Stern – Diocese of St. Petersburg

Mr. Scott Stern

Diocese of St. Petersburg/CoachScott Stern Horowitz Law

Assignment History:

  • 1998-1999: Pinellas Park High School (Pinellas Park, FL)
  • 2012-2014: Clearwater Central Catholic High School (Clearwater, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Mr. Scott Stern:

Scott Eugene Stern was a wrestling coach at Clearwater Central Catholic High School in Florida. He coached the school’s varsity and junior varsity wrestling teams. In 2016, Stern was sued by a student who accused him of physical and mental abuse. In 2017, he faced another lawsuit from a former student claiming sexual abuse.

According to both complaints, Stern accused the boys of using illegal drugs and threatened to tell others unless they performed various humiliating acts like reciting literature in the locker room naked. If the student made a mistake, Stern required them to take his clothes off and bend over to hit him with a ruler. They also claim Stern also made them simulate sexual activities and masturbate. The lawsuit suggests that the school knew about Stern’s behavior because he had a similar charge at another area high school, yet they still allowed the coach private access to students. The Diocese of St. Petersburg, which oversees the high school, also was aware.

In 2015, after his time at the high school, Stern served 60 days in jail after pleading no contest to battery charges brought on by two students. According to media reports, the details of the 2014 accusations were similar to the civil complaints. Stern was accused of hitting two students at Clearwater Central Catholic High School.

The first victim, an 18-year-old male, was battered in February 2014. Stern made the victim take off all of his clothes then grabbed him by the throat and groin area while yelling at him as a form of discipline.

The second victim, a 17-year-old male, was abused on several occasions between August 2013 and May 2014. The victim was forced to take off all of his clothes and was struck with a ruler with Stern’s hand on the buttocks. On another occasion, the victim was forced to take off his clothes while Stern conducted a strip search.

According to a 1999 police report, Stern also abused students at another local area high school in Pinellas Park. Stern had one of his wrestling students stand naked with a ruler over his head as a form of “positive image builder.” At the time, Stern was a volunteer wrestling coach at Pinellas Park High School. The police report indicates that he was suspended pending termination.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

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

Fr. Jeremiah Spillane – Diocese of St. Petersburg

Father Jeremiah Spillane

Diocese of St. Petersburg/Legion of Christ

Jeremiah Spillane Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1986

Convicted: 1997

Assignment History:

  • Church of the Incarnation (Sarasota, FL)
  • Cardinal Mooney High School (Sarasota, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Jeremiah Spillane:

Fr. Jeremiah Michael Spillane was a priest of the Legion of Christ order. Before moving to Sarasota in 1995, his 21 years of pastoral experience were spent mostly in schools in Mexico, Spain, and Rome.

In 1997, Spillane was convicted of internet solicitation of a minor boy. A transcript of the correspondence is part of the evidence against the Rev. Jeremiah Michael Spillane in a computer sex crime case. According to the police report, the detective was conducting undercover operations on the America Online computer service when Spillane contacted him in a “chat room.”

The detective posed as a 13-year-old boy and corresponded with Spillane by computer. Spillane admitted having been sexually involved with boys while in Mexico.  After several exchanges, Spillane and the “boy” discussed arrangements to meet for sex. Spillane was arrested in Clearwater, FL. Spillane pleaded no contest to charges and was sentenced to two years house arrest and two years’ probation.

At the time, Spillane served at Sarasota’s Church of the Incarnation and was chaplain at Cardinal Mooney High School, where he conducted a weekly Mass.

In March 2021, the Legion of Christ announced that it was adding Spillane to its list of credibly accused priests.  It is not clear if that was the result of the 1997 conviction or another allegation made in more recent years.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

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

Fr. Robert Schaeufele – Diocese of St. Petersburg

Father Robert Schaeufele

Diocese of St. Petersburg

Robert Schaeufele Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1975

Leave of Absence: 2002

Convicted: 2003

Assignment History:

  • 1975-1980: Sacred Heart Church (Pinellas Park, FL)
  • 1980s: St. Rita Catholic Church (Dade City, FL)
  • 1990s: St. Michael the Archangel Church (Pasco, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Robert Schaeufele:

At least 22 men have come forward alleging that Fr. Robert Schaeufele abused them when they were boys between the ages of 8-15 while belonging to five different churches in the Tampa Bay area. The Diocese of St. Petersburg settled cases with 12 men.

In April 2002, within days of being accused of inappropriate contact with a young boy in the 1970s, Schaeufele agreed to resign as pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church in Pasco.

In 2003, Schaeufele was charged with capital sexual battery involving three former parishioners at Sacred Heart Church in Pinellas Park during the mid-1980s. At the time, the boys were between 9 and 11 years old. Schaeufele received two 30-year concurrent sentences to prison but was released after 12 in 2015.

Complaints about Schaeufele’s inappropriate behavior began to surface shortly after he was ordained in 1975. The diocese’s response was to transfer him every time accusations arose but allowed him to continue working with children.

Although he did serve 12 years in jail, the statute of limitations in Florida allowed Schaeufele to avoid being criminally prosecuted for abusing most of his victims. By the time criminal charges were filed against him, they only involved the youngest and most recent of his victims. He is listed on the Diocese of St. Petersburg’s 2016 List of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

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

Fr. Jan Sanders – Diocese of St. Petersburg

Father Jan Sanders

Diocese of St. Petersburg/Jesuits

Jan Sanders Horowitz Law

Ordained: Unknown

Assignment History:

  • 1980s: Christ the King (Tampa, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Jan Sanders:

 Fr. Jan Sanders was a Dutch Jesuit visiting the Diocese of St. Petersburg in the 1980s. In 2004, Sanders was accused of sexually abusing a minor while visiting at Christ the King in Tampa, FL in the 1980s. The details of the sexual abuse allegations, the victim’s age/gender, are unknown. Records indicate that ther have also been dozens of reports in the Netherlands that have accused Father Jan Sanders of sexual abuse to minors. He is publicly named in the FL Attorney General’s 2020 report.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

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

Fr. Norman Rogge – Diocese of St. Petersburg

Father Norman Rogge

Diocese of St. Petersburg

Norman J. Rogge Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1956

Removed: 2002

Died: 2009

Assignment History:

  • 1956-1957: St. Mary’s College (St. Mary’s, KS)
  • 1957-1958: St. Robert’s Hall (Pomfret, CT)
  • 1958-1960: Jesuit High School of Dallas (Dallas, TX)
  • 1960-1979: Sacred Heart (Tampa, FL)
  • 1960-1979: Juvenile Detention Home (Tampa, FL)
  • 1979-1981: St. Ignatius (Mobile, AL)
  • 1981-1982: Jesuit Theological Union (Berkeley, CA)
  • 1982-1985: Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Campti, LA)
  • 1982-1985: St. Joseph’s (Trichel, LA)
  • 1982-1985: Our Lady of the Holy Rosary (Black Lake, LA)
  • 1982-1985: St. Patrick’s (Montgomery, LA)
  • 1985-1988: Unknown
  • 1988-1989: Ignatius Residence (New Orleans, LA)
  • 1989-2002: St. Charles College (Grand Coteau, LA)
  • 1998-2002: St. Charles Borromeo (Grand Coteau, LA)
  • 1998-2002: Christ the King (Bellevue, LA)
  • 2002-2009: Ignatius Residence (New Orleans, LA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Norman Rogge:

Fr. Norman J. Rogge was a Jesuit priest who worked in various parishes throughout Kansas, Connecticut, Texas, Florida, Alabama, California, and Louisiana. Fr. Rogge has been convicted twice for child sexual abuse in 1967 and 1985.

In 1967, Fr. Rogge was accused of groping a 14-year-old at a movie. According to news reports, the victim lived at a group home Rogge had access to. Other residents there also complained of inappropriate touching during swimming lessons at Rogge’s lake house. A police report indicated he also admitted to asking a boy for oral sex.  Rogge pleaded guilty to charges relating to child molestation and received three years’ probation.

After this conviction, Rogge was given probation and was required to undergo psychiatric counseling.  He stayed in Tampa, in ministry, until he was transferred to the Mobile Diocese in 1979.

In 1984, Rogge was in Tampa for a visit and spent a weekend at a cabin with two other men and an 11-year-old boy. One of the men was a convicted child molester. All three men were associated with an organization formed to search for missing children, a newspaper reported.

A police report alleges that the men walked around all weekend naked and masturbated in front of the child. In connection with this investigation, Fr. Rogge pleaded no contest to a lewdness charge in 1985 and was placed on probation again. He reportedly was required to go to a Catholic treatment facility in New Mexico. For both convictions, his criminal record was wiped clean of the child molestation charges upon completing probation, and after both convictions, he was allowed to continue working as a priest.

Since then, numerous survivors have come forward alleging child sexual abuse by Fr. Rogge, with the earliest allegation in 1963. In 2002, a team of journalists exposed Fr. Rogge’s sexually abusive past that resulted in him being sent to a Jesuit retirement community in New Orleans.

Rogge is named on the Jesuits’ December 2018 list of priests with credible allegations of sexual abuse of a child. He also was on the list released by the Archdiocese of Mobile in 2018.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

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

Fr. Michael Rhodes – Diocese of St. Petersburg

Father Michael Rhodes

Diocese of St. Petersburg

Michael Rhodes Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1984

Retired: 1993

Assignment History:

  • St. Cecelia’s Church (Clearwater, FL)
  • Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • St. Ignatius (Tarpon Springs, FL)
  • St. Catherine (Largo, FL)
  • St. Vincent de Paul (Holiday, FL)
  • Holy Family (St. Petersburg, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Michael Rhodes:

According to media reports in 2004, Fr. Michael Rhodes was accused of sexually abusing two boys in the late 1970s when he was a seminary student. One of the alleged victims came forward in late 2003, and during an investigation, the church located the second.

Fr. Rhodes left the ministry in 1993. When the allegations surfaced, he was known to be living in Florida and working as a clinical hypnotherapist. He is listed on the Diocese of St. Petersburg’s 2016 List of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

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

Fr. James E. Russo – Diocese of St. Petersburg

Father James E. Russo 

Diocese of St. Petersburg

Ordained: 1970

Left Ministry: 1997

Laicized: 2016

Assignment History:

  • 1971 St. Bartholomew’s (Elmhurst, NY) 
  • 1972-1976 St. Thomas Apostle (Woodhaven, NY) 
  • 1977 St. Virgilius (Broad Channel, NY) 
  • 1978-1979 Holy Family (Brooklyn, NY) 
  • 1980-1981 On Duty Outside the Diocese; St. Patrick (Largo, FL) 
  • 1982 Released From Diocesan Assignment; Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle (St. Petersburg, FL) 
  • 1983-1987 Blessed Trinity (St. Petersburg, FL) 
  • 1984-1985 Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, FL) 
  • 1988-1997 St. Michael the Archangel (Clearwater, FL)
  • 1991-1994 Catholic Charities (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • 1995-2020 Unknown

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father James E. Russo:

Father James E. Russo was the long-time president of Catholic Charities and was the diocese’s head of worship for many years, the person who helped guide liturgical policy in the diocese. According to media reports, in 1997, he was accused of sexually abusing a minor boy in the 1970s. He resigned as pastor of St. Michael’s in St. Petersburg in January 1997 because of “emotional items”. Within a week Bishop Lynch told the parish that “an episode of misconduct occurred many years ago” between Father Russo and an unidentified minor. Other victims subsequently came forward. 

In 2003, he was named in a civil lawsuit involving 24 priests, in which he was accused of sexually abusing a minor boy in the late 1970s while at St. Virgilius in Broad Channel, New York. The suit alleged that Father Russo, who was in charge of altar boys, sexually abused a boy who was about 12 years old, taking him to his room in the rectory and forcing him to remove his clothes, where he fondled him. He was ultimately laicized in September 2016. 

In February 2019, Father Russo’s name appeared publicly on the Diocese of Brooklyn’s list of clergy credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. He is also listed on the Diocese of St. Petersburg’s 2016 List of
Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Petersburg in Florida.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.