Parish Settles Abuse Suit

By Ira Porter
The News Journal
April 12, 2010

After a judge declined to dismiss a trial on sex abuse charges against St. Ann Roman Catholic Church in Wilmington, parish officials settled a $2 million lawsuit with a man who accused a longtime priest of raping him.

Lawyers for John Dougherty, 66, announced Sunday that the parish settled with him over his claims of childhood sexual abuse by the Rev. Edward B. Carley.

Dougherty has spoken about being raped repeatedly between 1954 and 1961 while he was an altar boy at the parish church.

"John is the earliest known survivor of Father Carley and he has bravely fought this battle on many fronts for more than seven long years," said Raeann Warner, an attorney for The Neuberger Firm, which represents Dougherty.

Carley, who died in 1998, worked as a parish priest until 1993 and was never charged.

A representative of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington did not return a call Sunday.

In addition to the financial settlement, St. Ann officials agreed to publicly acknowledge that Dougherty was a victim of Carley and apologize to him and his family, the statement said, and also agreed to express sorrow for other victims of the priest.

In 2005, the Diocese of Wilmington publicly acknowledged that Carley had abused young boys during the 1950s. The first settlement involving a claim by a former altar boy who was abused by Carley was made in 2009 with Douglas McClure, one of Dougherty's classmates.


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