Local ex-priest convicted for sex abuse
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) -- A retired priest accused of raping boys in his parish has been convicted to 15 years in prison.
The 69-year-old Catholic priest, Neil Doherty, was accused of raping at least 34 troubled young boys in three different South Florida churches, until he was removed by the Archdiocese in 2002. Doherty would have faced 66 years in prison. but because the father worked out a deal with the state attorney's office, the maximum the judge could levy was 15 years.
He was convicted on the attack upon one boy while at St. Vincent's Catholic Church in Margate, 17 years ago. This is the only criminal case against him because the other victims came forward many years after the crimes.
On Monday, two victims spoke out, and one agreed to be shown on camera. Rape victim Dennis Montero said, "He laced wine with drugs, and when I woke, I was naked and had been sexually abused. Subsequent to contact with this supposed priest and youth counselor and sharer God's love, my life sprung out of control, and I became an alcoholic and drug addict."
The victim's attorney, Jeff Herman added, "Neil Doherty has hurt more children than we will ever know, leaving countless lives in ruin. Neil Doherty going to prison sends a clear message to all clergy: You will go to prison if you molest and rape children."
When defense attorney David Bogenschutz was asked if Doherty had expressed any remorse in regards to the victims, he replied, "Well, the answer is, he is remorseful that the victims have gone through what they have gone through. The problem is that, I think, that his physical and emotional condition as well as his psychiatric condition are signs that it is very hard for him to reach any understanding or belief that any of this actually happened."
There are about two dozen lawsuits pending against the Archdiocese of Miami, which is accused of ignoring this problem and just moving Doherty around to different churches. They do not concede that point, and today Mary Ross Agosta with the Archdiocese released a statement asking that we pray for the victims and that "a priest who would give scandal this way both angers and shames us."
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