“It doesn’t make any sense,” Sorvillo, who now lives in the Orlando area, told The Herald. “The whole thing strikes me as odd.”
Simmons, asked about his cousin’s skepticism, said they were four years apart in age and that Sorvillo didn’t know about the troubles he had with his parents, which caused him to leave home and live on the streets, cheap efficiency apartments and a runaway center for teens, in the Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale areas.
At Tuesday’s news conference, Simmons’ lawyer, Herman, described his client as a “compliant victim” who was abused by Garcia as “homeless” teen when he met the priest at the Church of the Little Flower in Hollywood in 1994.
Simmons said he was praying at the church when Garcia first approached him. He said the priest initially gave him help, food and counseling, but began to sexually abuse him after they went to a movie one night.
Garcia allegedly performed oral sex on him under a highway overpass, according to Simmons’ lawsuit. Simmons said it was his “first sexual experience.” He said the abuse continued while he was living at Covenant House, a center for runaway teens near Fort Lauderdale beach.
Simmons said Garcia later employed him as a painter during the summer of 2002 at St. Agatha, where their sexual relationship continued. The following year, he joined the Army. But he said he still kept in touch with Garcia, seeking his advice.
Simmons, a watercraft operator who served two tours of duty in the Iraq war, was discharged in 2010 with numerous medals and commendations, according to the Army. Afterward, he joined the Army Reserve. He is married and living in Virginia with his wife and their 1-year-old daughter. They are expecting a second child.
During a mid-October telephone conversation, Simmons said he called Garcia to catch up and the priest revealed that he had recently been accused of sexual abuse. Simmons then looked up news reports on the Internet about Garcia, and found the name of the accuser’s attorney, Herman.
He said the revelation of another alleged abuse victim prompted him to take action against the pastor of St. Agatha.
“If he could do it to me as a kid, then he could do it to someone else at the school,” Simmons told The Herald. “This had to stop.”