When the Rev. Rafael Escala served at St. Timothy Catholic Church in West Kendall in the late 1980s, he caught a teenaged altar boy stealing $60 from the collection.
Escala threatened to report the teen to his father and the police. But rather than carry out the threat, the priest sexually abused the 16-year-old boy, according to the victim, who obtained a financial settlement from the Archdiocese of Miami in January.
“He told me that I had to ask God for forgiveness for stealing the money after he abused me,” said the victim, a Miami man who did not want to be identified. “He gave me penance.”
The victim also reached a settlement in the same agreement regarding molestation claims against a second priest, the Rev. Oscar Mendez, a Jesuit, while he served at St. Timothy in the 1990s.