The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Release
New clergy child sex abuse & cover up lawsuit filed
And victims urge archbishop to replace long key staffer
She’s the long-time head of the archdiocesan PR department
But she also heads the church’s “safe environment” program
Her two roles “inherently” conflict, independent support group contends
SNAP: “Vulnerable kids & wounded adults need a professional, not a PR person”
Last week, a Philadelphia grand jury wrote a scathing report that charged church abuse staffers “have divided loyalties” and “continues to engage in practices that mislead victims, that violate their trust, “hound” victims for statements to “use as ammunition to impeach” them, and “turn over” victims’ statements “to archdiocesan attorneys.” SNAP fears the same collusion may be happening in Miami. The group also suspects that fewer victims will come forward when they learn that the person overseeing abuse in the church also publicly defends accused wrongdoers in the news media and minimizes the alleged crimes.
SNAP is also disclosing a new child sex abuse and cove up lawsuit, filed today in Miami-Dade County Court. It charges that Fr. Neal Doherty repeatedly sexually assaulted a then eight year old boy starting around 1990. For the next three years, Doherty abused the boy “on more than 50 occasions” and “sexually abused other boys before, during, and after the time he abused” this boy, the suit says. The archdiocese “knew or should have known that Doherty was using his position as a priest to sexually abuse boys” but “took no action” to protect them.
In 1972, Doherty’s supervising priest told archdiocesan staffers that Doherty “legally adopted” a “young adolescent who often stays in his room overnight” with him. In 1979, church staff received a complaint that Doherty gave a 16 year old boy drugs and molested him while the boy was being treated in a mental hospital. After numerous other abuse reports, in 2004, the archdiocese let Doherty “voluntarily resign,” the suit says.
Miami church officials received multiple credible allegations of sexual abuse against Doherty dating back to the 1970s. Still, Doherty remained pastor of St. Vincent’s parish in Margate from 1995-96 and resigned in 2004.
Three months ago, Doherty was jailed for having violated conditions of his “pretrial-release." He was arrested in 2006 and charged with drugging young boys and then sexually assaulting them after they passed out.
Today’s civil suit charges that the archdiocese “has never sought to have (Doherty) defrocked and “stripped of the benefits of being a priest.” At least six civil lawsuits against him have been settled.
The victim, now in his 30s, is represented by Miami attorney Jeffrey Herman (305 931 2200, [email protected]). Doherty has been represented b attorney David Bogenschutz.
According to a Boston-based research organization called BishopAccountability.org, there are 33 proven, admitted or credibly accused Miami archdiocesan predator priests.
CONTACT – Barbara Blaine of Chicago, SNAP President 312 399 4747, [email protected]
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director 314 566 9790, [email protected]
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests