MIAMI
12/04/2012 10:42 am ET Updated Dec 04, 2012

Father Rolando Garcia Resigns After Latest Sex Abuse Allegations (VIDEO)

A Miami priest named in multiple sexual abuse lawsuits has resigned, weeks after fresh allegations were filed in court.

Father Rolando Garcia, formerly of the St. Agatha Catholic Church in west Miami-Dade, submitted a formal letter of resignation to Archdiocese of Miami effective November 21st.

Garcia and the Archdiocese have been plagued by numerous lawsuits alleging the sexual abuse or coverup of sexual abuse of young boys in the last few years, with purported incidents dating as far back as the 1980s. He was placed on administrative leave in October, and told his flock he resigned of his own free will after prayer and reflection.

"I want to do what is best for the parishioners, school parents and students of St. Agatha," Garcia said in a letter to his parishioners, an excerpt of which was made public Friday.

The Archdiocese of Miami said in a statement that Archbishop Thomas Wenski accepted Garcia's resignation, expressing his gratitude to Garcia for his years of service.

The latest accusation against Fr. Garcia came from an Iraqi War veteran who claimed the priest molested him as a teenaged runaway in 1994 until he deployed to the Middle East in 2003.

Garcia was ordained in the Archdiocese of Miami in 1986 and was installed as St. Agatha's pastor in 2001.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story reported Garcia became pastor of St. Agatha in 1986. That was the year he was ordained in the diocese; he began his tenure at St. Agatha in 2001.

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