Catholic priests Edwin Giraldo Cortes and Diego Berrio were arrested on September 3 after they were allegedly caught performing a sexual act inside a parked vehicle in full view of the public.
Berrio, 39, and Giraldo Cortes, 30, are charged with lewd and lascivious behavior. Giraldo-Cortes is also being charged with indecent exposure. The two men have since bonded out of jail. It is unclear if they have acquired legal representation.
According to the arrest report, Miami Beach police received a 911 call at around 3 p.m. on September 3 about two men engaging in a sex act in the 1300 block of Ocean Drive. The two men were reportedly inside a parked Volkswagen with untinted windows. The location was near a children’s playground.
“I parked my vehicle and approached the passenger side of the vehicle on foot,” the arresting officer wrote in the arrest report, according to the Miami Herald. “I observed defendant Berrio in the passenger seat, performing oral sex on defendant Giraldo who was seated in the driver’s seat. Giraldo’s pants were unzipped and his genitals exposed. This act was occurring in full view of the public passing by on Ocean Drive and the sidewalk.”
The officer purportedly had to knock on the window to get their attention. The two men gave their occupation as priests and provided the officer with an address for a mission in Illinois, Chicago. They were arrested without incident.
Parents who witnessed the incident were shocked that priests would engage in such behavior. A spokesperson for the Miami Beach Police Department said their occupation was “irrelevant.”
“Their profession is irrelevant. In fact, our trouble with this is that this is broad daylight for anyone to see, including children. There’s a time and a place for everything and this certainly was not the time and place,” said Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez.
The Archdiocese of Chicago released the following statement regarding the incident:
“We were informed this morning that Rev. Diego Berrio, pastor of Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, Ill., and Rev. Edwin Giraldo Cortes, an extern priest from Soacha, Colombia. . .were arrested in Miami on September 3, 2018.”
“Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, has removed Fr. Berrio from ministry and withdrawn his faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Chicago, effective immediately. The archdiocese will appoint an administrator for the Misión San Juan Diego as soon as possible,” the statement said.
“Archdiocese representatives have been in contact with Fr. Cortes’ home diocese of Soacha, Colombia and informed them that Fr. Cortes will not be granted additional faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Chicago.”
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