South Florida priest changes plea
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A South Florida Catholic priest accused of drugging and then raping little boys changed his plea in court Monday morning.
Neil Doherty has pleaded no contest, ending an almost 6-year legal fight over sexual abuse allegations against several boys. "I represent dozens of men, who as boys were sexually abused by Father Neil Doherty," said one of the victim's attorneys, Jeff Herman. "Today, Father Doherty entered a plea of no contest to six of the eight counts of sexual behavior against one particular man."
Doherty, 69, spent more than 30 years at churches in Fort Lauderdale, Margate and Northwest Miami-Dade.
A long list of men have complained of abuse as children, and the State of Florida was about to prosecute him on behalf of one of those victims, but Doherty pleaded no contest in return for reducing the charges against him.
Now, Doherty is convicted of six counts of lewd and lascivious behavior with a child. "It just came time for the case to be concluded," said Defense Attorney David Bogenschutz. "We have victims out there, only one victim is charged, but they had several individuals who were going to come in and testify what we call Williams Rule of Similar Fact Evidence. They have been dangling in the wind, so to speak for the last five years or more. My client has been in jail; he's very sick."
Doherty's sentencing is set for Jan. 28. He faces up to 15 years for each of the six counts.
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