South Florida Priest Pleads No Contest in Sex Abuse Case

Neil Doherty to be sentenced after pleading no contest to committing lewd acts

By Betty Yu
|  Monday, Jan 14, 2013  |  Updated 6:42 PM EDT
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Neil Doherty, 69, pleaded no contest to six counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child Monday. Attorney Jeff Herman, who represents the now-adult victim, spoke about the case.

Neil Doherty, 69, pleaded no contest to six counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child Monday. Attorney Jeff Herman, who represents the now-adult victim, spoke about the case.

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New Lawsuit Claims Miami Priest Sex Abuse

Father Neil Doherty, who's already behind bars awaiting criminal trial on sexual battery charges, is the subject of a new lawsuit filed Thursday that claims he drugged and sexually abused a teen boy in the 1980s. Dennis Montero spoke about the alleged abuse at a Thursday news conference. The Archdiocese of Miami issued a statement on the matter.

Priest Sex Scandal

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Jeffrey Herman, accuses Father Neil Doherty of sex abuse. The victim was 14 when he was allegedly victimized, back when Dpherty was at St. Mary’s in Little Haiti.
More Photos and Videos

A South Florida priest accused of molesting several boys entered a no contest plea to six counts of lewd and lascivious acts upon a child in a Broward court Monday.

Neil Doherty, 69, had been charged with eight counts including sexual battery, lewd or lascivious molestation and committing a lewd act in the presence of a child.

The retired priest appeared frail and haggard in Broward Circuit Court. His no contest plea means that he will get a maximum 15-year prison sentence, authorities said.

Doherty, a former priest at St. Vincent's Catholic Church in Margate, has been accused in several alleged incidents dating back to the early 1970s. Some of the accusations were too old to prosecute.

Doherty is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 28. It will be his first criminal punishment.

New Lawsuit Claims Miami Priest Sex Abuse

Attorney Jeff Herman said the plea deal offers some closure for the victim, now 26, who alleged that Doherty drugged and raped him multiple times as a young boy.

"This isn't about a victory in terms of being able to take away what happened to these men," Herman said after the hearing. "It's about justice, it's about finally having validation and vindication, because all these years Doherty has been denying it, the church has been denying it, and we knew better."

Herman, who represents several of Doherty's alleged victims, has filed more than 20 civil suits on their behalf.

"Hopefully this is the end of the reign of terror for Father Doherty, who preyed on young boys in Florida for decades," Herman said.

$100 Million Verdict in Miami Priest Sex Abuse Case

A jury awarded a $100 million verdict against Doherty in a sex abuse case in 2011.

He retired from the Archdiocese of Miami in 2004.

Sex Abuse Suit Filed Against Priest Already Facing Charges

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