A scandal involving a Reading priest is thrust into the headlines and it allegedly involves sex, lies, and videotape.
A Muhlenberg Township, Pa. couple is suing the Diocese of Allentown, claiming it failed to prevent a priest from seducing their 17-year-old daughter.
"I didn’t believe it. It was always hard to believe because he was always so nice to us. It just came as a shock to everybody," parishioner Melina Montes-de-Oca said.
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In the lawsuit filed Thursday in Berks County court, the girls’ parents say their daughter’s sexual relationship with the priest began when she was a 17-year-old senior at Reading Central Catholic High School and continued until she gave birth at age 19.
The girl’s parents claim to have secretly videotaped the two having sex in the basement of their home.
Father Luis Bonilla Margarito was removed as chaplain of Central Catholic and as the pastor of St. Joseph Church in Reading, Pa.
The Diocese of Allentown would not comment on the lawsuit, but released this statement to NBC Philadelphia:
"As the diocese announced publicly at the time, Father Bonilla was removed from all assignments in November 2009. He has not functioned as a priest since then.”
Parishioners at St. Joseph Church say they considered Father Bonilla a part of their family.
"Just like anything else in your family, when something goes wrong and you have to live through it," parishioner Tom Kennedy said.
And his admitted fall from grace is something they’ve working to overcome.
"He made a mistake. He’s a man of God. I wish him all the best," Dave Krick said.