Florida ex-priest faces 15 years in prison in child sex abuse case

Raquel Erhard – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Miami, FL, United States (4E) – A 69-year-old priest from Margate, Florida has been sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison for alleged sexual abuse involving several boys over decades after a plea deal early January.

According to reports, Neil Doherty received a maximum prison term after pleading no contest on January 14 to six counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child.

The charges were brought by a man, now 26, who as a young man in the 1990s lived across the street from St. Vincent’s Roman Catholic Church, and claimed that Doherty gave him drugs and alcohol, and sexually abused him.

The Archdiocese of Miami released a statement after the sentence was issued, saying that “We continue to pray for the healing of those whom he victimized as well as for all young people who have been abused by an adult in a position of trust. That a priest would give scandal in this way both angers and shames us.”

The statement continued, “The Archdiocese of Miami has taken great steps to protect God’s children through its mandatory Safe Environment procedures which include national background checks, training for all employees, clergy and volunteers, and teaching our children how to be safe in today’s world.”

Doherty, a former priest at St. Vincent’s Catholic Church who retired from the Archdiocese of Miami in 2004, faced several sexual abuse allegations as far back as the 1970s and some of the accusations were too old to prosecute.

NBC Miami reported that a jury awarded a $100 million verdict against Doherty in a sex abuse case in 2011.

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