“Mentally and emotionally he’s doing fine,’’ his lawyer said.
Bogenschutz added that the reduction of the capital felonies to second-degree felonies “turned the screw’’ on the plea deal.
Doherty spent three decades serving in Broward and Miami-Dade parishes, including St. Vincent, St. Anthony in Fort Lauderdale and St. Phillip in Northwest Miami-Dade.
He has a long list of accusers who say he used his position of power to drug and rape them when they were boys. Some of the accusations date back to the 1970s but came to light only in recent years.
Documents released in 2006 as part of the Broward case included an interview with the priest’s longtime secretary, who said the archdiocese was aware of allegations that Doherty had been engaging in inappropriate relationships with young boys.
Despite the many civil suits filed against him, this will be the first criminal punishment for Doherty as a result of the accusations.
In most cases, criminal charges could not be filed because the statute of limitations had passed.
However, several civil cases involving Doherty have been settled out of court. The first case that went to a jury ended with a $100 million award to the victim, said Jeffrey Herman, a lawyer who said he represents dozens of men who as boys were sexually abused by Doherty and other priests.
Herman accused the Archdiocese of Miami of ignoring early warnings about Doherty as far back as the 1970s.
The Archdiocese of Miami issued a statement Monday in response to Doherty’s plea deal, reminding followers that the church has instituted a new policy that requires extensive background checks of clergy and employees, and that provides awareness training for adults and children.
The statement also suggested that Doherty has been disciplined by the church, though he has not been defrocked.
“Over these past 10 years, Fr. Doherty has been without faculties,’’ the statement read, in part, “and he is not been permitted to dress in clerical clothes, perform any Church or public sacramental ceremonies, or represent himself as a priest.’’
Herman said Monday that he has settled at least 24 cases with the Archdiocese of Miami relating to the sexual abuse of boys by Doherty in the decades before he was permanently removed from active ministry in 2002.
“Hopefully,’’ Herman said, “Doherty’s reign of terror on South Florida is over.’’