Tag: Legionaires of Christ

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.

Legionaires of Christ’s List of Clergy with Substantiated Sex Abuse Claim Includes Former Miami Clergyman

The Legionaires of Christ has published a list of its clergyman who have had substantiated sexual abuse allegations lodged against them.  The list include Father Benjamin Cielply, who was formerly serving in the Archdiocese of Miami.   Investigators concluded that “there is a high probability that he sexually abused a minor in 2016 during his probationary period in the Archdiocese of Miami.” Cieply was removed from ministry on account this sexual abuse claim.

Father Benjamin Cieply, LC, was ordained to priesthood with the religious congregation Legionaries of Christ on December 20, 2008.  In 2015, he left the Dallas, Texas, Legionaries of Christ community to seek out incardination to the Archdiocese of Miami after a gradual process of discernment.  In late 2016, an incident of sexual abuse in Florida involving a minor was reported and Child Protective Services was notified. Child Protective Services determined that the allegations could not be substantiated.  The Archdiocese of Miami was informed. They began their internal review and a decision was made, based on the findings, to remove Fr. Benjamin Cieply from ministry. Cieply was sent back to the Legionaries of Christ and has not been exercising ministry.

Fr. Benjamin Cieply was asked by the Legionairies to participate in the investigation of this claim in January of 2017 and then again in February of 2018. Fr. Benjamin Cieply affirmed his innocence and declined to participate in the investigation on both occasions.   The Review Board convened on June 27, 2018. After careful consideration based on the information provided in the report, the Review Board concluded that there is a high probability that sexual abuse had occurred and recommended that Fr. Benjamin Cieply should not return to ministry. The Territorial Director of the Legionaries of Christ decided to act in accordance with their recommendation. Fr. Benjamin Cieply will not be returning to ministry.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergt.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy now have legal options to recover damages.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.