Priest Accused of Molestation A GPS No-Show 8 Times

Former South Florida priest Neil Doherty went AWOL from ankle monitor

By Brian Hamacher
|  Tuesday, Nov 9, 2010  |  Updated 10:45 AM EDT
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Priest Accused of Molestation A GPS No-Show 8 Times

Court officials are trying to figure out why a South Florida priest, out on bail after he was accused of molesting a boy in the 1990s, has been disconnecting from his electronic ankle monitor.

Neil Doherty, 67, was arrested last week after he was found to have ventured away from his Lake Worth home for 17 minutes last month, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

It was the eighth time Doherty, a former priest at St. Vincent's Catholic Church in Margate, had disconnected from the system that tracks him since he was fitted with it in March 2006.

Doherty is free on bail, awaiting trial for allegedly drugging and raping the boy several times when he was between 7 and 15 years old. Doherty has been accused in over a dozen similar incidents dating back to 1973.

He faces 25 years behind bars if convicted.

Doherty told authorities he'd been at a funeral when the latest disconnection happened, but at a hearing Monday, Broward Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes said eights was more than enough to keep him in jail.

"Seven violations?" Holmes said, according to the Sun-Sentinel. "Anybody else would be in jail."

After Doherty's attorney, David Bogenschutz, said his client may have mental health issues, Holmes ordered an examination by a psychologist.

"If he's competent, I'll feel comfortable setting some restrictions that are rather strict," Holmes said. Otherwise, Doherty may end up in a hospital for the mentally ill, Holmes said.

Doherty is due back in court Wednesday.

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