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Archdiocese of Miami statement regarding lawsuit

Miami ... (June 23, 2020)  Today, the Archdiocese of Miami was notified of a lawsuit accusing a former priest of sexual abuse of a minor. As always, the Catholic Church’s concerns and prayers are for sexual abuse victims and our mutual hopes for justice and healing.

The person named in this lawsuit, Neil Doherty, had been permanently removed from active ministry in the Archdiocese and the universal Catholic Church in April 2002; since then, Doherty has been named in other lawsuits. As with any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest, it is immediately reported to the appropriate county State Attorney’s office (Monroe, Miami-Dade or Broward counties).

Due to a past allegation against Doherty, the State Attorney in Broward County investigated and pressed charges against Fr. Doherty; he remains in prison.

Since the historic meeting of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops took place in Dallas, Texas in June 2002, the Archdiocese of Miami has taken strong steps to keep children and vulnerable adults safe in today’s world.

Its policy “Creating and Maintaining a Safe Environment for Children and Vulnerable Adults” includes Level 2 background screenings by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for all clergy, employees, teachers, and volunteers within the Archdiocese. Individuals are fingerprinted every five years; any arrests of clergy and employees are reported by FDLE within 48 hours to the Archdiocese.

In addition, each adult and summer camp counselor is required to participate in the VIRTUS training and monthly continuing education online bulletins. Children attending Archdiocese Catholic schools and CCD classes receive age-appropriate lessons titled “Teaching Boundary Safety”; these lessons range from K-12 grades.

Any victim of abuse perpetrated by Church personnel is asked to come forward by calling law enforcement or the Archdiocese of Miami hotline, 1-866-802-2873, or Department of Children and Families’ hotline, 1-800-962-2873.

Mary Ross Agosta

Director of Communications

[email protected]

June 23, 2020

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