Jailed priest to take plea deal

Neil Doherty to plead guilty to several charges

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A jailed priest is expected to plead guilty Monday to several felony sexual battery charges filed against him.

Retired Archdiocese of Miami priest Fr. Neil Doherty is currently in Broward County Jail. The 69-year-old retired priest is accused of molesting a boy at a Margate parish in 1990. He was arrested in 2006.

"Neil is in his late 60s. It has gone on a long time. He is not in the greatest health," said David Bogenschutz, Doherty's attorney.

Bogenschutz said Doherty will plead guilty to some of the eight charges he faces. The others will be dismissed or reduced as part of the plea deal.

Doherty was facing a mandatory 25 years to life sentence if he was convicted. Bogenschutz didn't say what the new sentence could be but indicated Doherty would likely be released.

"It's going to involved the recommendation of a prison term but not a prison term that is life threatening to him, we hope. It's a prison term that I think depending what the judge gives him within a certain parameter that will give him the opportunity to have a meaningful life when he's released," said Bogenschutz.

"I hope he rots in hell," said Dennis Montero, one of more than two dozen men who have accused Doherty of molesting them in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Many of those victims have filed civil suits against him and the Archdiocese of Miami, claiming church leaders knew about Doherty's behavior but ignored it.

"Neil Doherty has become one of the most prolific alleged child molesters in the country in terms of Catholic priests," said attorney Jeffrey Herman.

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