Florida Woman Who Turned To Clergyman After Being Raped By Priest Was Told She Was 'Touched By God'
The woman was originally told by another priest to keep quiet about the situation before going to police.
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The Miami Herald revealed in a report on Friday that Jean-Philippe admitted to raping the woman after members of the church made efforts to cover up the crime.
He gave her a tea and she blacked out. When she woke up, she allegedly found herself naked on a table covered in oil. He was standing next to her in only white underwear. She told police she smelled semen and that his eyes were glassy.
"I just remember waking up in his room...I woke up in the bed. I was scared, because I didn’t know what was going on. He hugged me and said that everything was okay. That nothing bad happened,” the woman told Miami-Dade Detective Humberto Tabares. She put on her clothes and rushed out.
“I was afraid, because I started thinking that this man who said he cared about me and look what he did to me. What else could he do?”
She approached him at church next week but he deflected. Afterwards, she spent weeks wondering whether she should push the issue and tell others. She summoned the strength to tell someone and decided to turn to senior clergyman Silverio Rueda.
“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.”
She was terrified by the experience and waited until February of this year before telling another priest. The priest was horrified and asked her to call the police. He was arrested in March, but the Archdiocese claimed they only learned of the allegations on March 4. Rueda told the The Miami Herald she was a liar.
Jean-Philippe lived on church property and was close to the woman, having officiated her wedding and served as the godfather of her children. With help from Miami-Dade police officers, she called Jean-Philippe before his arrest and pressed him on what happened. He admitted he had massaged her and tacitly apologized, saying he was only "flesh and bones."
During his arrest he admitted to police that he did in fact rape her that day. The 64-year-old is currently out on bail awaiting trial.
“Effective immediately, Archbishop Thomas Wenski has removed Fr. Jean-Philippe from Sacred Heart Catholic Church, placing him on administrative leave," the church wrote in a statement.
"The Archdiocese of Miami continues to fully cooperate with law enforcement as this allegation against Father Jean-Philippe continues to be investigated.”