Sending a strong message to sexual predators everywhere, a Florida jury awarded $100 million in damages to a man abused by a Catholic priest as a teen. The survivor, now 40 and living in Lansing, Michigan, was a 14-year-old runaway when he placed his trust in Neil Doherty, a priest who trolled the Little Haiti neighborhood of Miami. Doherty doled out advice, clothing, and meals to children in the area. According to civil court proceedings, Doherty also provided alcohol and drugs to his victims, and sexually abused them.
Doherty has had more than 20 civil cases filed against him, and many have settled out of court. He also faces criminal charges in connection with the accusations. Yesterday’s verdict represents the conclusion of the first civil trial against Doherty and, although the survivor will likely never see the $100 million he was awarded, the jury’s decision is a loud and clear warning to perpetrators – and those who attempt to cover up for them – that they cannot escape responsibility for their heinous conduct.
With the burgeoning scandal at Penn State and countless similar cases involving the Catholic Church worldwide, the public outcry to hold abusers accountable is stronger than ever. Yesterday’s verdict is one more step toward protecting vulnerable children and preventing future abuse.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.