Arlington Heights pastor removed after arrest in Florida

  • The Rev. Diego Berrio leads the Mision San Juan Diego's annual Good Friday Living Stations of the Cross in March.

      The Rev. Diego Berrio leads the Mision San Juan Diego's annual Good Friday Living Stations of the Cross in March. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 9/5/2018 3:16 PM

The Rev. Diego Berrio was removed as pastor of Mision San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights Tuesday by the Archdiocese of Chicago in the wake of his arrest Monday in Miami Beach, Florida, on allegations he was caught in a car engaging in sexual behavior with another priest.

Berrio, 39, was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior after a bystander spotted him and another man in a black Volkswagen rental about 3:20 p.m. Monday, according to a police report.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Cardinal Blaise J. Cupich said in a statement Tuesday that the archdiocese will await the results of the police investigation before taking further action.

"It is our responsibility to ensure those who serve our people are fit for ministry," Cupich said. "We take this matter very seriously and will appoint an administrator for the parish as soon as possible."

According to police, two Miami Beach officers approached the car and saw Berrio in the passenger's seat engaging in a sex act with the Rev. Edwin Giraldo Cortes, 30, an extern priest from Soacha, Colombia. The car was parked on a street next to a large public park and beach, police said.

The police report states that the men didn't notice the officers until one of them tapped on the driver's side window.

Cupich said in a separate statement Tuesday that Cortes was granted faculties at St. Aloysius in Chicago throughout August on the recommendation of the diocese in Soacha, Colombia. Cortes listed Mision San Juan Diego as his address, according to the Miami Beach police report.

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