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STRIPPER SUES PRIEST FOR CHILD SUPPORT

The archdiocese paid the woman $60,000 three years ago over the long-term affair.

MIAMI - She was an exotic dancer at a Miami strip club called Porky's. He showed up wearing a Hawaiian shirt, eager to share a night in the VIP lounge.

They began a torrid, on-and-off love affair that ended for good in January, after she gave birth to a daughter she says is his. Now, she wants child support and has filed a restraining order against him.

It might be a routine, if tawdry, court case if not for respondent David Dueppen's job: Catholic priest with the Miami Archdiocese.

The sordid story line inflicts another black eye on an Archdiocese already embarrassed in May when popular Miami television priest Alberto Cutie admitted to an affair with a woman, whom he quickly married.

Dueppen, 42, who once served at the same Miami Beach parish as Cutie, is now on leave from his associate priest position at St. Maximilian Kolbe Church in Pembroke Pines.

Former stripper Beatrice Hernandez filed the restraining order recently, claiming that an argument over paternity and child support escalated when Dueppen began "grabbing her by the throat and choking her."

"He is the devil," said Hernandez, 42, of Miami, who provided DNA test results naming Dueppen as the father. "He is the devil dressed as an angel."

The couple's past relationship was well known to the church. Three years ago, the archdiocese paid Hernandez a settlement stemming from their long-running affair, which started seven years ago.

Within the past year, Hernandez says, Dueppen - still a priest - unexpectedly showed up to rekindle their romance.

The result, she says: her baby, Marilyn Epiphany Hernandez.

Dueppen, a former Miami-Dade middle school teacher who became a priest 10 years ago, says his attorney advised him not to comment.

"I can't talk with you," Dueppen told a Miami Herald reporter Friday, adding that Hernandez's version is "going to have a lot of inaccuracies."

Hernandez says she met Dueppen while stripping near Miami International Airport.

She spent a Sunday night with Dueppen - who had shed his priest collar - drinking wine in the VIP room. Soon, Hernandez says, Dueppen was visiting the club twice a month, and she began visiting him in the Keys, where he started out as a priest at St. Mary's Star of the Sea.

He transferred to St. Francis de Sales Church in Miami Beach. They lived together in her West Miami-Dade townhouse for more than three years.

"He talked about having kids and marrying me," said Hernandez, who also has an older daughter from a prior relationship.

Hernandez said the relationship ended in 2006 over sexual differences.

Hernandez hired lawyer Jeffrey Herman, who threatened to sue the church under the claim that Dueppen abused his position of power by sleeping with Hernandez, and threatening her and her adult daughter with "evil spirits" if Hernandez left him.

The church settled out of court in July 2006, according to a Herald article at the time.

Hernandez says she and her daughter were paid $60,000. As a condition of the settlement, Hernandez and the priest were ordered to stay away from each other, she said.

According to church spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta, Dueppen then went on leave to come to terms with his "very public vow of celibacy." He returned after 13 months, she said.

"We are a forgiving church. He was addressing the issues and we were assured the issues had been resolved," she said.

Hernandez's current attorney, Michael Feiler, said the church knew Dueppen was a problem. "Instead of taking actions to correct his behavior, they just moved him 15 miles up the road," Feiler said.

Hernandez will be seeking child support and a permanent restraining order, said Feiler, who will represent her at a hearing in Miami-Dade family court on Thursday.

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