Wilmington Diocese Pays $65,000 to Abuse Victim
Former St. Ann's Altar Boy Says He Was One of Dozens Preyed upon

By Beth Miller
News Journal
February 16, 2005

Catholic Diocese of Wilmington officials confirmed Tuesday a $65,000 payment to a former Wilmington resident as reimbursement for counseling he said he needed after being sexually abused for years by a former diocesan priest, now dead.

John F. Dougherty Jr., 61, who lives in Las Vegas, Nev., said the Rev. Edward B. Carley raped him when he was 10 years old, serving as an altar boy at St. Ann's Church in Wilmington. Carley served as assistant pastor there from 1954 to 1962. Dougherty said he was in contact with Carley for more than 10 years and was abused repeatedly by him.

In a prepared statement, diocese officials said, "We deeply regret the pain and suffering that Mr. Dougherty has endured as a result of these despicable actions. We continue to pray for Mr. Dougherty's ongoing healing and reaffirm our pledge to continue to offer counseling to him and other survivors of clergy sexual abuse."

Carley was 82 years old when he died in retirement in Branford, Conn., after 49 years as a priest.

The diocese last year acknowledged payments of $1.6 million to victims and families, and said 60 people had accused priests of abuse over the past 50 years. Allegations against 19 priests were substantiated, diocese officials said.

Carley was among those 19, diocese spokesman Bob Krebs said, and one of nine who are dead. None of the other 10 is in active ministry, the diocese has said. And none will be prosecuted because the statute of limitations has expired in each case.

The diocese also put in place strict protocols for child care and youth activities to prevent future abuse.

A study sanctioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops found that 4,392 clerics were accused of molesting 10,667 minors from 1950 to 2002. At least 700 priests have been removed from public ministry since the abuse crisis erupted in Boston in January 2002.

Publicly announced settlements have reached at least $790 million since 1950, and three dioceses have filed for bankruptcy protection in the face of multimillion-dollar abuse claims. Hundreds of additional claims are pending against dioceses in California and other states.

Dougherty said he knows dozens of people - including his late brother - who were abused by Carley. He said many never will come forward.

Krebs said he knew of only one suit filed by another alleged victim in Maryland, but that case was dismissed for reasons Krebs did not know. He said if others were victimized, "it certainly has been our policy to encourage victims to come forward. E We'd like them to come forward and get help."

Dougherty, who is married with two grown children, said he has been in counseling for years and accepted the $65,000 payment because he "caved in."

"I just couldn't wait anymore," he said. "I just couldn't stand the pressure anymore. I just wanted it to be over."

He said the issue for him was never about money.

"It was about the acknowledgment," he said. "E It was about bringing this to a conclusion and putting Carley's name out there for what he did to us kids."

Dougherty said he graduated from Salesianum School and attended St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia.

All the while, he said, Carley "was my hero."

Carley bought him boots like movie star James Dean's, took him on trips, even paid for a honeymoon at Rehoboth Beach when Dougherty and his Protestant girlfriend eloped - to the chagrin of their families - Dougherty said.

He said vivid memories of sexual abuse returned to him during sessions with a psychiatrist in Boston five years ago.

Now, he wants nothing more to do with the church - or the faith he once had.

"I've thrown it away as folly," he said. "Absolute hypocrisy, the church is. It's a gain for me. I don't have to labor under that guilt anymore. It's a gain, not a loss.

"But I do feel sorry for my friends in Wilmington, the guys I grew up with. I feel sorry for them. None of them have come forward."

Dougherty said he is relieved to have his story in the open.

"I've done my life's work," he said. "To notify everybody that this happened - and it happened to all my friends and to my brother. Now everybody knows about it. I have total freedom to talk about it. I can say whatever I want now.

"I feel like a free man."

The Associated Press contributed to this article. Contact Beth Miller at 324-2784 or

The late Rev. Edward B. Carley's career

May 22, 1948: Ordained at Cathedral of St. Peter, Wilmington, and assigned as assistant pastor of St. Mary Refuge of Sinners, Cambridge, Md.

June 14, 1954: Appointed assistant pastor to St. Ann's Church, Wilmington

June 9, 1962: Became assistant pastor at St. Paul's Church, Wilmington

May 29, 1964: Became assistant pastor at the Cathedral of St. Peter, Wilmington

June 9, 1967: Appointed pastor of Good Shepherd Church, Perryville, Md.

1972: Transferred as pastor to Mother of Sorrows Church, Centreville, Md.

1983: Transferred as pastor to St. Dennis Church, Galena, Md.

June 13, 1993: Retired from the pastorate, residing at Santurce, Puerto Rico

Jan. 25, 1998: Died at 82 in Branford, Conn.


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