Roman Catholic priest Jean-Claude Jean-Philippe of Homestead, Florida was arrested Friday after police said he drugged and sexually assaulted a parishioner.
Jean-Phillipe, 64, is charged with sexual battery on a victim who was physically incapacitated. He was held at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center and was released on $10,000 bond on Saturday. The press did not name an attorney for him.
According to the arrest report, Jean-Philippe is the parochial vicar at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the 100 block of SE Second Road in Homestead. The victim of the alleged assault is a 44-year-old woman who was once a parishioner at Sacred Heart. Jean-Philippe reportedly officiated her wedding and was her child’s godfather.
The woman told investigators that Jean-Philippe invited her to his home on the church grounds in October 2018 and offered her iced tea to drink. The woman blacked out after drinking the tea. She woke up two hours later naked in the priest’s bed, the report said.
The woman had no recollection of what happened in those two hours. She awoke to Jean-Phillipe “standing over her. . .in his white underwear and no shirt,” according to the report. She smelled bodily fluids and asked the priest what he had done to her, but he reportedly denied sexually assaulting her.
The woman didn’t contact police until March 4, when she told another clergy person about the incident. After a meeting with church authorities, she was instructed to call the police.
When police arrested Jean-Philippe and questioned him, he admitted that he undressed the victim, massaged her in the nude with oil and the raped her, the report said.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Miami told sources that Jean-Philippe has been removed from Sacred Heart and placed on administrative leave. The archdiocese has also offered the victim counseling. It released the following statement:
“Effective immediately, Archbishop Thomas Wenski has removed Fr. Jean-Philippe from Sacred Heart Catholic Church, placing him on administrative leave. The Archdiocese of Miami continues to fully cooperate with law enforcement as this allegation against Father Jean-Philippe continues to be investigated.”
Sexual battery is a very serious offense for two reasons. First, the penalties for a conviction are very severe. Second, simply being accused of sexual battery carries enormous social stigma and may even require registration as a sex offender.
South Florida Sex Crimes Attorney