Belize-based Fr Oliver Smalls Jr has begun to pursue vindication over allegations which came to light in February that he sexually assaulted a minor in Richmond, Virginia, USA in 1970.
Fr Small’s attorney, Leeroy Banner told local news organisation Reporter.bz that he and his client will discuss how they will proceed. “But the person most likely to face a lawsuit is Bishop Lawrence Nicasio and the Catholic Church for publishing the contents of a letter from the Richmond Catholic Church, which accuses Fr Smalls of sexually assaulting a minor in that US state,” Banner said, according to the article.
In a press release issued by the Roman Catholic Chancery Officer in February, Bishop Nicasio wrote that he has “explained to Father Smalls that his allegation findings have been forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for further disposition.”
Fr Smalls has been removed from his ministry in Belize following the appearance of his name on a published list of priests who have been accused of sexual abuse of minors.
Banner said that while the Church brings up the matter of an alleged assault, Bishop Nicasio, as well as the Richmond Police and the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia are also aware of the results of a polygraph test, which indicated that Fr Smalls was innocent of the offence.
But while that might be the case, local Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte warned “we would go after anybody who would commit any crime. However, like everybody else, we can’t just recklessly and irresponsibly cast aspersions on people against whom we have any evidence that they have committed any crime but I assure you, if anybody, including a priest were to commit