Assignment Record – Rev. Neil A. "Gus" Doherty

Summary of Case: Rev. Neil Doherty, also known as "Gus", was an active priest of the Miami archdiocese for nearly 33 years, and the subject of accusations of child sexual abuse which span his entire career. Doherty worked as a counselor for Catholic Family Services to whom the archdiocese would regularly refer troubled boys. Many of those boys have sinced surfaced with accusations against Doherty. Doherty's modus operandi is reported to have been to drug the boys, some of whom have said they would awaken to find Doherty abusing them. Doherty's accusers contend the archdiocese was warned many times over the decades that he was abusing children. In 1972 a fellow priest reported that Doherty had adopted an adolescent boy, who was sleeping in Doherty's bedroom. The same priest had warned archdiocesan officials the year before that Doherty should stay away from drug rehabilitation facilities after a raid on a halfway house for boys at which Doherty was a supervisor. Both warnings were ignored. There were reports of the sexual abuse of boys by Doherty to the archdiocese in 1983 from a psychologist and in 1987 from a psychologist and a church secretary, after which Doherty was allowed to continue in ministry. The church secretary was fired. In 1992 the archdiocese received a report from the parents of a boy who claimed to have been drugged and raped by Doherty in 1978; the archdiocese settled with the family in 1994. In 1992 Doherty was sent for a psychological evaluation; his superiors were told he should be removed from his role as a parish priest. He was not. It wasn't until the clergy sexual abuse crisis was making headlines in April 2002 that Doherty was placed on leave. In 2006 Doherty was arrested and charged with child sexual abuse for drugging and raping a boy between 1996-2000, beginning when the boy was 9 years old. By November 2011, 26 men had come forward with accusations that Doherty drugged and sexually abused them as children. In January 2013 Doherty pleaded "no contest" to the charges of lewd and lascivious acts on a child. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but was to serve 12 years due to time already served.

Ordained: 1969


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Miami archbishop was Coleman Francis Carroll (1958-1977)

1970 St. Bartholomew's



FL 3/3 St. Bartholomew's had a school with 435 students.
    Catholic Family Services


In 2005 a man filed a lawsuit with accusations that Doherty drugged and raped him in the late 1960s, when he was about 11 years old. The boy was receiving counseling from the Catholic Welfare Bureau. The man said Doherty took him to his (the priest's) mother's house where he gave him alcohol and marijuana. He said the abuse happened after he passed out, and he would wake up and realize Doherty was abusing him.

The parents of a boy who's son was counseled by Doherty at CFS when he was a 17 year-old high schooler in the late 1970s reported to the archbishop in 1992 that, in 1978, Doherty drugged and raped their son. The archdiocese settled with the family in 1994.

In 1979 Doherty was accused of supplying drugs to then sexually abusing an 18 year-old male patient of the South Florida Mental Health Hospital.

FL counselor

This assignment is per news reports.

Doherty was the 'go-to' priest when the archdiocese received calls from families seeking counseling for their troubled sons.

Some accusers said Doherty told them to call him "Gus".

1970 1972 St. Francis of Assisi

Riviera Beach

In April 1972 fellow priest Rev. Martin Cassidy told archbishop Carroll that Doherty had legally adopted an adolescent boy, who was sleeping in Doherty's bedroom. Carroll did nothing.

FL 3/3

St. Francis' had a school with 494-538 students.

In 1971 Fr. Cassidy warned higher-ups that Doherty should be kept away from drug rehabilitation facilities. This was after police, on a tip that drug abuse was rampant there, raided a halfway house for troubled youth at which Doherty was a supervisor.

1972 1973 Sacred Heart Lake Worth FL 3/4 Sacred Heart had a school with 344 students.


Carroll was succeeded by Edward Anthony McCarthy (1977-1994)

1978 St. Anthony's

Ft. Lauderdale

Doherty was accused in a 2003 lawsuit of having drugged and raped a 12 year-old boy in the late 1970s at St. Anthony's. The abuse is said to have occurred at Doherty's mother's home, a hotel room, and an apartment behind a parishioner's house.

A man accused Doherty in a June 2007 lawsuit of having sexually abused him at St. Anthony's in the mid-1970s, when the man was 12 years old.

FL 4/4, 4/5

St. Anthony's had a school with 555-514 students.

One of Doherty's accusers told investigators in 2005 that, in the 1970s, Doherty wrote prescriptions for Valium and a sleeping pill from a South Florida doctor's prescription pad.

1978 1979

      Doherty is not indexed in the 1979 Directory, nor is he listed in the Miami archdiocesan pages as at his previous or next assignments.
1979 1982 St. Matthew's Hallandale FL 3/3 In residence. St. Matthew's had a school with 184-151 students.
1982 1985 St. Philip's

Opa Locka

Doherty was accused in a Nov. 2012 lawsuit of sexually abusing a 15 year-old boy over an 18 month period, beginning in 1984. Doherty is said to have plied the boy with drugs, alcohol and money. His is said to have been a troubled boy who met Doherty at a trailer park.

FL 1/1  
1982 1985 Archdiocesan Professional Groups


FL Director In 1983 a therapist reported to Archbishop McCarthy the disclosure of an 11 year-old male patient that Doherty had drugged and sexually abused him. There was no investigation.
1984 1988 Archdiocesan Vocations Miami FL Director  
1985 1986 St. Mary's Cathedral Miami FL 5/5 In residence. The Cathedral had a school with 445 studnets.
    Notre Dame d'Haiti Miami FL   This was a mission of St. Mary's Cathedral.
1985 1998 Archdiocesan Vocations Board Miami FL Vice Chairman 1985-1988
Member 1988-1998
1986 1988

St. Bartholomew's


In 1987 a psychologist told archdiocesan officials that Doherty was one among a number of archdiocesan priests abusing children. According to the psychologist Doherty had involvement with a young male prostitute he had met while working at a halfway house. When contacted by church officials, the young man in question denied the allegations.

In Nov. 2011 a man received a settlement from the archdiocese, having claimed that Doherty sexually abused him when the man was 14 years old, in 1986.

FL 4/4 In residence.

St. Bartholomew's had a school with 305-290 students.

In 1987 the boy whose therapist informed the archbishop of the his disclosure of abuse by Doherty sought Doherty out at the archdiocesan pastoral center. Doherty wasn't there. The boy told the secretary, a nun, that he'd gotten a venereal disease from Doherty. She informed archdiocesan officials. Doherty fired the nun, calling her "mentally ill and severely unreliable".Chancellor Gerard T. LaCerra investigated. Doherty's accuser told him that Doherty would get drunk and have sex with him and other boys. Doherty was allowed to continue his work counseling boys.

1988 1990 Holy Redeemer Miami FL 1/1 Holy Redeemer had a school with 78-112 students.
1990 1991         Doherty is not indexed in the 1991 Directory, nor is he indexed in the Miami archdiocesan pages as at his previous or next assignments.


John Clement Favalora followed McCarthy as Miami archbishop (1994-2010)

April 2002 St. Vincent's


In a lawsuit filed in 2005, a 19 year-old male accused Doherty of sexually abusing him from 1996-2000, beginning when he was 9 years old. Doherty is said to have plied the boy with alcohol and marijuana.

Another accuser reported that he met Doherty when he was 7 years old, and that the priest would have him do "private confessions" with him almost every day. He said Doherty would give him a soda that made him pass out, and that Doherty would then sexually assault him. He said the abuse went on for several years, until March 2000.

In 2007 another man filed suit alleging Doherty sexually abused him in 1999 when the man was 14 years-old. He said the abuse took place in Doherty's car and in St. Vincent's rectory.

FL 1/2, 1/3

St. Vincent's had a religious education program with 210-120 students.

Doherty was sent in 1992 to the Institute for Living in Hartford, CT for a psychological evaluation, the results of which were said to have indicated that Doherty should be removed from his role as parish priest.

St. Vincent's church secretary under Doherty told criminal investigators it was "because he [was] dangerous, manipulative, a pathological liar and he is someone that will stop at nothing to get what he wants." She said also that the archdiocese knew for decades that Doherty was abusing boys. The secretary was put on leave in 2006 after her statements became known. The archdiocese denied she was removed in retaliation for her statements.

2002 2004         Doherty was placed on administrative leave in April 2002., per news reports.
2004 2010 Retired   FL  

Doherty is not indexed in the 2011 Directory.

Doherty was arrested and charged in Jan. 2006 with child sexual abuse. His accuser filed had suit in 2005, claiming Doherty drugged and raped him beginning when he was 9 years old, from 1996-2000.

2006   Jail


By November 2011 26 men had accused Doherty of drugging and raping them as children.

FL inmate Doherty pleaded "no contest" in Jan. 2013 to six counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, but was to serve little more than 12, due to time already served.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1970-2010)

Church Kept Accused Priest on Job, By Daniel De Vise and Jay Weaver, Miami Herald [Miami FL], October 23, 2003
Priest Drugged and Raped Boy in 1960s, Lawsuit Agains Miami Archdiocese Alleges, By Ginelle G. Torres, Sun-Sentinel [Fort Lauderdale FL], August 18, 2005
Suit: Church Knew of Sex Claims, A Fort Lauderdale Man Has Filed Suit against the Archdiocese of Miami Alleging a Priest Raped Him When He Was 9 Years Old, By Wanda J. DeMarzo and Jay Weaver, Miami Herald, September 7, 2005
Former Priest Charged with Child Sexual Abuse, Rev. Neil Doherty Arrested Thursday Charged with Sex Battery on a Child under 12, First Such Charge in Miami Diocese, CBS 4, January 27, 2006
Attorney Says More Victims of Priest Will Surface Soon, The Lawyer Who Represents a Man Allegedly Sexually Abused by a Catholic Priest Says Additional Victims Will Step Forward Next Month, By Roberto Santiago, Jay Weaver and Wanda DeMarzo , Miami Herald [Florida], January 28, 2006
Stop Blaming Accuser, Archdiocese Told, An Advocacy Group Criticized the Archdiocese of Miami, Saying It Is Blaming a Young Man for an Alleged Rape by a Priest in Its Response to a Lawsuit, By Lisa Arthur, Miami Herald, February 10, 2006
Retired Margate Priest Freed on $70,000 Bond in Child-Rape Case, By Tonya Alanez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, March 21, 2006
$70,000 Bond Set for Priest, A Retired Priest Accused of Raping a Young Boy Is Expected to Be Released from Jail Today, By Wanda J. Demarzo, Miami Herald [Fort Lauderdale FL], March 22, 2006
Priest Charged with Rape Wants to Ditch Ankle Monitor, By Amy Sherman, Centre Daily [Pennsylvania],
July 8, 2006
Archdiocese Pays $750,000 in 6 Sex Cases, Six Sexual Abuse Cases Amounting to $750,000 Have Been Settled by South Florida's Catholic Archdiocese, By Amy Sherman, Miami Herald, July 21, 2006
Aide: Church Knew of Priest's Woes, Court Documents Paint a Disturbing Picture of a Priest Who Is Accused of Molesting Young Boys, By Wanda J. DeMarzo, Miami Herald, July 22, 2006
The Career of the Rev. Neil Doherty, Miami Herald, July 22, 2006
Former Margate Priest Charged in Sex Abuse Case Allowed to Rent Apartment, By Tonya Alanez, Sun-Sentinel, July 25, 2006
Diocese Takes Witness off Job
A Secretary at a Margate Church -- a Key Witness in a Criminal Case against a Priest Charged with Molestation -- Has Been Placed on Leave by the Archdiocese of Miami, By Amy Sherman, Miami Herald [Florida], August 1, 2006
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 , Miami Herald [Florida], August 4, 2006
Ex-Priest Doherty Implicated in Another Sex-Abuse Suit, By Jay Weaver, Miami Herald [Miami FL], January 3, 2007
Abuse Suits Settled against Ex-Broward Priest, By Amy Sherman, Miami Herald, June 27, 2007
Suit Involving Foley Priest Is Settled, Associated Press, carried in Miami Herald, July 18, 2007
Lambs to Slaughter, Again and Again, Local Claims of Abuse Point to One Priest, the Rev. Neil Doherty, and the Catholic Archdiocese That Protected Him, By Thomas Francis, New Times, April 17, 2008
Rev. Neil Doherty Hit with $100 Million Judgment in Miami Catholic Church Sex Abuse Suit, By Kyle Munzenrieder, Miami New Times, November 10, 2011
Former Margate Priest Subject of Another Abuse Lawsuit, By James D. Davis, Sun Sentinel, November 15, 2012
Priest Expected to Accept Plea Deal in Child-Molestation Case Monday, The Sun-Sentinel, January 13, 2013
Priest to Accept Plea Deal Monday in Underage Sex Case, By Diana Moskovitz, Miami Herald, January 14, 2013
Priest Pleads No Contest in Underage Sex Abuse Case, CBS Miami, January 14, 2013
Retired South Florida Priest Pleads No Contest to Sex Charges, By Daniel Chang and Diana Moskovitz, Miami Herald, January 14, 2013
Update 1-florida Priest Pleads No Contest in Child Abuse Case, By Thomson Reuters, Global Post, January 14, 2013
Retired Catholic Priest Pleads No Contest in Sex Abuse in a Fort Lauderdale Court, By Kelli Kennedy, News Chief, January 14, 2013
Fla. Priest Pleads No Contest in Sex Abuse Case, WSNV, January 15, 2013
Civil Lawsuits Help Criminal Prosecution, By Barbara Blaine, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, January 16, 2013
South Florida Priest Neil Doherty Sentenced to 15 Years in Sex Abuse Case, NBC Miami, January 28, 2013

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Doherty's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on Jan. 29, 2013