Florida church youth leader accused of sexually abusing teen

MIAMI — A youth leader at a South Florida church is accused of molesting an underage teen boy, authorities said.

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Rick Torcise, 67, was charged with one count of engaging in sexual acts with a child, according to Miami-Dade County online court records. He was released on $10,000 bail Wednesday, and a judge ordered Torcise to stay away from the victim, WPLG reported.

According to state records, Torcise is named as a trustee for New Beginnings Christian Fellowship of Homestead, the Miami Herald reported.

According to an arrest report, the 17-year-old victim told police that Torcise fondled him on multiple occasions this year between June and October, the newspaper reported. The report stated that on Oct. 16, Torcise performed a sex act on the teen and asked the juvenile to do the same. According to the report, the teen complied “out of fear.”

“This is a person that the community trusts, this is a person that parents trust to guide their children,” Detective Argemis Colome, a spokesperson for the Miami-Dade Police Department, said in a statement. “We’re asking anybody that may have had any interaction with this individual ... this is the time to give us a call.”

Torcise’s charge is punishable by life in prison, the Herald reported. His attorney, Benedict P. Kuehne, did not return a request for comment, according to the newspaper.

Torcise is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 16, according to online court records.

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