Two Chicago-area priests were arrested in Florida Monday afternoon after police allegedly caught one performing oral sex on the other in public.
The Rev. Diego Berrio, who served as the pastor of Misión San Juan Diego in Arlington Heights, and the Rev. Edwin Giraldo Cortes, who is from Colombia and served at St. Aloysius Parish in Wicker Park for the month of August, were arrested Monday in Miami Beach, Florida, according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Officers responded to a 911 call about 3:20 p.m. Monday reporting two men performing a sexual act inside a car in the 1300 block of Ocean Drive, Miami Beach police said in a statement. Officers arrived to find Berrio, 39, performing oral sex on Cortes, 30, inside the car, which was parked on the east side of the street.
“This act was occurring in full view of the public passing by on Ocean Drive and the sidewalk,” an officer wrote in the arrest reports. It was also captured on the responding officers’ body cameras.
Both men were charged with lewd and lascivious behavior and Cortes was also charged with indecent exposure, both misdemeanors, police said.
Cardinal Blase Cupich has removed Berrio from ministry at Misión San Juan Diego and “withdrawn his faculties to minister in the Archdiocese of Chicago, effective immediately,” according to the archdiocese. Representatives of the archdiocese have also contacted Cortes’ home diocese in Soacha, Colombia, and he will not be allowed to serve as a priest in Chicago.
A spokeswoman for the archdiocese said both priests could potentially still apply for positions in other dioceses, but those dioceses would typically contact the Archdiocese of Chicago for information about their previous employment records.
“It is our responsibility to ensure those who serve our people are fit for ministry,” Cupich wrote in a statement to San Jaun Diego parishioners. “We take this matter very seriously and will appoint an administrator for the parish as soon as possible.”