Raped Boys Drugged, Court Told
An Alleged Victim Said a Priest Used a Doctor's Pad to Write Prescriptions for Pills the Priest Gave Him before Raping Him
By Amy Sherman asherman@MiamiHerald.com
Miami Herald [Florida]
August 4, 2006
The Rev. Neil Doherty got prescriptions from one or more South Florida doctors to obtain pills that he used to drug his victims before he raped them, several alleged victims told investigators, according to criminal and civil court records.
One alleged victim also said Doherty would use the names of dead priests to obtain prescriptions. "As with many of these allegations, what we see here is a pattern . . . that Doherty almost refined over the years," said Jeffrey Herman, a lawyer representing several of Doherty's alleged victims in civil suits against the Archdiocese of Miami.
Doherty, the former priest at St. Vincent Catholic Church in Margate, has been charged with sexually abusing a boy -- starting when he was 10 years old -- and continuing for several years beginning in the 1990s. If convicted, he could face life in prison. Doherty's attorney has denied the allegations.
In court records, some of his alleged victims say Doherty would ply them with drugs and alcohol and they would fall asleep. When they awoke, they found that they had been raped, according to several of their statements, which have been obtained by The Miami Herald.
One of his alleged victims told a detective last year that during the 1970s Doherty wrote prescriptions for Valium and a sleeping pill from a pad he obtained from Dr. David Buckley, according to court documents released this week.
In an interview with The Miami Herald, Buckley said that he did not give the prescriptions to the priest -- only that he gave Doherty a key to use his medical office for counseling sessions in the mid 1970s. That's where his prescription pads were kept.
Buckley said he never asked Doherty why he didn't counsel clients in the rectory instead of the psychiatrist's office.
"You might say we were colleagues," Buckley said. "I had a place where he could practice whatever he was doing counseling adults."
Buckley lives in Fort Lauderdale but spoke to a reporter on a cellphone Thursday while traveling in Rome where he said he was on a photo shoot with a model and searching for a cure for Parkinson's, which he suffers from.
TROUBLES OF HIS OWN
Buckley had his own brushes with the law. In 1979, authorities seized the psychiatrist's sailboat Final Analysis in a Maine harbor after more than two tons of marijuana had been unloaded from it at a cottage that Buckley had rented.
In 1985, he tried to jump out the second-story window of a federal courthouse in Portland, Maine, after he was sentenced to five years in prison on a drug smuggling charge.
Buckley, who comes from a prominent Broward family, said he considers Doherty a friend. He said he believes the priest is innocent.
Doherty's attorney, David Bogenschutz, denies that Doherty wrote prescriptions.
"My client emphatically denies that he ever had a prescription pad or attempted to write a prescription off a pad owned by Dr. Buckley or anybody else," Bogenschutz said.
Records show that Doherty was obtaining prescriptions at the same time a victim in the 1990s has alleged he was drugged, Herman said.
"The pharmacy records indicate Father Doherty had prescriptions filled for sleep-inducing drugs during the same time that [one victim] alleges he was being drugged and raped," said Herman, referring to one of the alleged victims he is representing.
Nine victims have accused Doherty of sexual abuse according to criminal and civil court records. The statute of limitations has run out in a number of the cases, and prosecutors have only brought charges in one case. In that case, involving the then-10-year-old, the statute doesn't apply because the victim was younger than 12 when the alleged crime was committed.
Two victims' statements mention Buckley, whose father is the late Francis Buckley, a lawyer who represented high-profile clients, including the founder of L.L. Bean and a Lord Mayor of London.
Now 60, Buckley said he met Doherty when his psychiatry office was located close to St. Anthony Church in Fort Lauderdale, where the priest was working in the 1970s. Buckley said Doherty would refer adult patients to him for counseling.
Miami Herald staff writer Jay Weaver contributed to this article.
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