Arbitrator awards $75,000 to Mass. man who made sex abuse claim against former principal at South Boston Catholic school

Boston Globe

December 19, 2019

By Danny McDonald

An arbitrator has awarded a Massachusetts man $75,000 in a legal dispute with the Archdiocese of Boston, after the man alleged that the principal at a now-shuttered South Boston Catholic school sexually abused him as a child during the 1980s and 1990s. Five more men have also come forward with allegations of sexual abuse against the same administrator.

The arbitrator found that the man “suffered physical injuries and emotional injuries as a result of physical abuse.” The arbitration award was announced over the summer, and five other men have alleged that Paul Doty, who was working at the time as principal at St. Augustine Elementary School, a K-8 institution that has since closed, sexually molested them. Doty was not a priest.

The Archdiocese, in a statement this week, said it generally does not comment on or even acknowledge individual settlements and does not comment upon the specifics of any allegation. A spokesman did say the Archdiocese did notify law enforcement with regards to the case “as we do with all sexual abuse allegations.”

“Furthermore we encourage any victim to do the same either directly to law enforcement or through the Archdiocesan allegations,” the spokesman said in an e-mail.

Attempts to reach Doty, who is believed to still be alive, were unsuccessful this week.

In the case that was settled, Doty allegedly abused the victim, a 38-year-old man who grew up in South Boston and still lives in Massachusetts, about 20 times between 1989 and 1994, when he was between 8-years-old and 13-years-old, said the man’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian. The victim attended St. Augustine’s as a student, and Doty, the principal of the school at the time, would engage him in wrestling matches that included inappropriate sexual touching, the victim said this week during a phone interview.

“Headlocks turned into rolling around the floor and leg locks and he would be aroused during a lot of this, I didn’t know how to make sense of that when I was that age,” he said. “I was too embarrassed to talk about it.”

He added, “It never escalated, it never went beyond this really inappropriate, weird wrestling.”

The victim wished to remain anonymous, and the Globe typically does not name sex abuse victims.

Of the arbitration award, the victim said, “It’s hard for me to say exactly what it represented.” In coming forward, he said he was interested in “making sure this wasn’t continuing to happen.”

Garabedian, who has represented thousands of sex abuse victims, said his client, was “a courageous survivor who by coming forward is speaking on behalf of other victims and making the world a safer place for children.”

Garabedian said the claim was filed as part of the archdiocese’s compensation program. As part of that program, a person notifies the archdiocese of their claim, counsel for the archdiocese then asks for records, and archdiocesan attorneys and an investigator interview the person who has made the claim, with the claimant’s attorney present, according to Garabedian.

The archdiocese then determines whether the allegations are credible or not, he said. In this case, they found the allegations to be credible and the matter went before an arbitrator to determine the financial award, Garabedian said.

Five other alleged victims, men in their 30s and 40s who were students at St. Augustine’s , have also made civil claims alleging Doty sexually abused claims them, according to redacted documents provided to the Globe. Those individuals allege Doty sexually molested them and claim their injuries include feelings of isolation, helplessness and shame. Some alleged that Doty ruined a part of their life, created an emotional void, or stole their childhood, according to their claims.

One victim alleged that as a result of being sexually molested by Doty his injuries included “sleep problems; concentration problems; shame; guilt; crying; depression; apathy; embarrassment; flashbacks; reminders; feeling dirty, damaged, and used.”

The allegations date back to the late 1980s and early to mid-1990s, and five of the claims detailing such accusations are currently going through the settlement process, according to Garabedian. Of the six who have accused Doty of sexual abuse, four went to law enforcement with their allegations but were told the state’s criminal statute of limitations prevented prosecution, said Garabedian.

St. Augustine Elementary School, where Doty was principal from 1987 to 1999, closed in 2003, with church officials citing mounting debts, declining enrollment, and $33,000 in needed repairs as the driving factors behind its shuttering. Its closure came amid a financial crisis for the archdiocese, partly caused by the fallout from the clergy sex abuse scandal. The fiscal pinch forced the church to reduce parish subsidies and close schools that it could no longer support.

Doty was also a principal at the now-defunct Charlestown Catholic Elementary School between 1999 and 2001 and taught at St. Patrick School in Roxbury for a decade starting in 1977, said Garabedian. Charlestown Catholic closed in 2003. After 2003, Doty also worked at Catholic schools in Ohio, Kentucky, and Alabama.

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