Belizean priest sues to clear his name

By on August 3, 2019

Belize City, BELIZE. Saturday, August 3, 2019. Nearly six months after a Roman Catholic Church diocese in Richmond, USA published a list of clergy members accused of sexual misconduct, Belizean priest Oliver Smalls has begun the process of trying to clear his name.

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Rev. Smalls who has served in parishes across Belize was one of the priests named in the document published by the Richmond diocese.

According to an online report, the specifics of the accusations against Rev. Smalls have not been publicly released and now he is going to court to try to clear his name.

The online report says that Rev. Smalls is suing the Richmond diocese for defamation and is seeking $2.3 million in damages.

He is being represented in the defamation suit by attorney Phillip Leiser.

A spokesperson for the Richmond diocese has acknowledge the suit brought by Rev. Smalls but did not speak further on the issue.

According to the online report published by the Courthouse News Service, the lawsuit claims that “the odious nature of the allegations against him (Rev. Smalls), coupled with the current public bias against the clergy who has merely been accused of engaging in such egregious misconduct as sexually abusing minors has destroyed Smalls’ reputation.”

Smalls, who has worked in the Belize diocese for over three decades, has been placed on suspension by the Diocese of Belize following the publication of the list by the Richmond diocese.

Rev. Smalls maintains that he is innocent of the accusations against him.

He has served for an eight month period as a relief child care worker at the Virginia Home for Boys.

Courthouse News Service says that “the lawsuit contends he never engaged in inappropriate sexual or physical contact with any resident of the home.”

At least four other priests have initiated lawsuits to try and clear their names and restore their reputations.

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