Two priests from the Chicago area were arrested in Miami Beach on Monday after police observed the two men performing oral sex on one another in a parked car, Miami Beach police said.
The Rev. Diego Berrio, 39, pastor of Mision San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, and the Rev. Edwin Giraldo Cortes, 30, an extern priest from Colombia who served at St. Aloysius Parish in Chicago in August, were both charged with lewd and lascivious behavior, a misdemeanor. Berrio also was charged with indecent exposure, police said.
The alleged sexual act took place around 3:20 p.m. Monday, according to a police report — “in full view of the public passing by on Ocean Drive and the sidewalk.”
There is also a playground on the block the car was parked on, police confirmed.
In a statement Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Chicago said both priests would no longer be able to be priests in the archdiocese.
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 Berrio from ministry and withdrawn his faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Chicago, effective immediately,” the statement read. “The archdiocese will appoint an administrator for the Mision San Juan Diego as soon as possible.”
Archdiocese officials have contacted Cortes’ home diocese, they said, and informed them that Cortes, who served at St. Aloysius only for the month of August, would no longer be permitted to work as a priest in Chicago.
Either priest could apply for work in another diocese, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese said, but they would likely need to present their Chicago employment records. And for other jobs within the Archdiocese of Chicago outside of the priesthood, both men would need to submit to a criminal background check, the spokeswoman said.
“It is our responsibility to ensure those who serve our people are fit for ministry,” the archdiocese said in its statement. “We take this matter very seriously and will provide updates as they become available.”