Archdiocese Pays $750,000 in 6 Sex Cases
Six Sexual Abuse Cases Amounting to $750,000 Have Been Settled by South Florida's Catholic Archdiocese
By Amy Sherman asherman@MiamiHerald.com
July 21, 2006
The Archdiocese of Miami has agreed to settle six separate sexual abuse cases, including two involving Neil Doherty, a Broward priest accused of drugging and raping boys in incidents dating back to 1973.
The civil suits were settled in the past few weeks for $750,000, according to Jeffrey Herman, the lawyer representing the victims.
"For those victims, they decided that they wanted to get some closure and put the cases behind them," Herman said.
The cases include alleged sexual abuse that occurred in Broward and Miami-Dade counties mostly in the 1970s and 1980s.
Doherty, 64, is expected to go to trial next year in the only criminal case. While serving at St. Vincent's Catholic Church in Margate, prosecutors say Doherty raped a boy over a five-year period, starting when the boy was 11. The Miami Herald does not name alleged sexual abuse victims. A $25 million civil suit filed by the same alleged victim in the criminal case is scheduled for trial in October. Doherty has a court hearing today to ask a judge if he can remove the electronic ankle bracelet he has been wearing since he was released from jail on bond pending his trial. Doherty's lawyer, David Bogenschutz, has said his client is having difficulty sleeping with the device. Prosecutors oppose allowing Doherty to remove the device.
Among the civil suits that settled, according to Herman:
• Two male victims alleged that they were drugged and raped by Doherty when he was a drug and alcohol counselor for the Archdiocese in the 1970s.
• A woman said she was abused in 2005 by the Rev. David Dueppen, who at the time worked for St. Francis De Sales in Miami Beach.
• The Rev. Don Walk, who at one point was chaplain for the Miami Dolphins, was not assigned to a particular church at the time -- in the '70s and '80s -- of the alleged abuse of a male teenager.
Most of the settled cases were never filed in court.
Herman said he explained the nature of the cases to the Archdiocese without filling the suit -- and that led to the settlement. "This is the church's effort into moving forward and bringing closure and resolution," said spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta.
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