Archdiocese Settles Sexual Abuse Claims

By Ihosvani Rodriguez
Sun-Sentinel [Florida]
July 20, 2006

The Archdiocese of Miami has agreed to settle six separate sexual abuse cases accusing a number of its former clergy members, including a former Broward County priest, attorneys said Tuesday.

The church agreed to pay out a combined $750,000 to the unidentified victims in the six cases, said Miami-based attorney Jeffery Herman.

It is unclear the total number of victims who were involved in the lawsuits.

Among those accused in the lawsuits was Neil Doherty, a former priest at St. Vincent's Catholic Church in Margate, who was arrested in January on eight counts of sexual battery, lewd and lascivious acts and molestation.

Doherty has been accused in several civil lawsuits of drugging and raping young boys in incidents dating to 1973. In one case, Broward prosecutors could not file criminal charges because the statute of limitations had expired.

The allegations of a Broward man, now 20, are at the heart of the current criminal case and span seven years, with the last incident in 1999.

"I am happy that we are able to give the victims some sort of closure," Herman said in a news release. "Hopefully, healing may come from this."

He could not be reached for further comment Wednesday.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta confirmed the settlement and the dollar amount Wednesday and said the agreement was reached three weeks ago. She said the attorney representing the Archdiocese was on vacation and could not be reached for more details.

"We hope this brings peace and comfort to those who have been hurt," she said.

A report published by the archdiocese last year indicated its insurance has spent at least $17.6 million since 1966 in settlements, legal expenses and counseling associated with allegations made against priests and other church officials. About 40 cases have been settled since 2002.

Ihosvani Rodriguez can be reached at or 954-385-7908.


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