Our Cases In the News

For information on additional cases in the news that Tahira Khan Merritt has successfully resolved on behalf of survivors of abuse, please click on the following links and you will be taken directly to the Bishop-Accountability.org database record for the named individual. If the individual is not included on the database because he or she is associated with another religion, school or institution, please see one or two key links listed directly below the name

  • On Tuesday, July 12 , 2016, we filed in County Court at Law #3, Nueces County, Texas, our firm filed a civil case against the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi (Diocese), Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (S.O.L.T) and Stephen Tarleton Dougherty (Dougherty), alleging that when Father Dougherty worked in the Diocese of Corpus Christi, he sexually assaulted and sexually abused our client, who at that time was a child. She is identified in the lawsuit only by the pseudonym, Jane Doe 108.

    Dougherty was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 in Corpus Christi, worked in parishes there and in Mathis, and resided in Robstown at the SOLT facility. On June 14th, 2016, Dougherty was indicted by a Grand Jury in Bee County for felony sexual assault of Jane Doe 108. The criminal case is pending.

    The civil lawsuit alleges negligence and gross negligence against the Diocese and SOLT, alleging these Church entities knew or should have known prior to the sexual assault of Doe of Father Dougherty’s propensities to molest children, but failed either to warn or protect her.

    You could read the petition here

    Corpus Christi Caller Times

  • A man who alleges he suffered repeated sexual abuse at the hands of  Father John Sutton and  Principal Ron Staley at Notre Dame Middle School in Wichita Falls, Texas has sued the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth and its Bishop, Michael F. Olson.

    The victim alleges he was sexually abused beginning when he was a 7th grader by Father John Sutton, his history teacher and the school chaplain. He was also abused by Sutton’s long-time friend the school principal, Ronald M. Staley.

    The victim also alleges fraud, misrepresentation and intentional infliction of emotion distress among other claims against Bishop Michael Olson and his agents when he came forward to report his abuse to the Diocese in 2013.  Read more here.

    You could view the lawsuit here. 

    Dallas Observer post here

    See the article on DFW CBS here

    Read the Star Telegram article here

  • A former youth minister at a Baptist church in Texas, who admitted to exchanging sexually explicit text messages and photos with an underage girl from his church, has been sentenced to 12 years in federal prison.

    Read more here

    Links to other news outlets: here and here

    Baptist News Article here

  • FORT WORTH For more than four decades, the woman known in court documents as Jane Doe was silent about her claims that she was sexually assaulted by her priest.

    While she pursued her career and marriage, the target of her allegations, Father Bede Mitchel, continued to teach and work in the Catholic Church and maintained a good reputation, according to one church official.

  • TULIA, TEXAS – A former priest previously convicted twice of sex crimes in California and Texas pleaded guilty in December, 2013 to additional molestation charges in Texas. In civil claims, Ms. Merritt represented several clients from Texas who were molested at various times by Salazar.


  • BEAUMONT, TEXAS — On November 6, 2013, following extensive mediation, a settlement was reached in a civil suit case filed by six (6) men who were sexually abused when they were boys by Fr. Ronald W. Bollich, a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Beaumont until his death in 1996.

  • FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Texas prison officials denied a petition for early medical release in 2013 for convicted child sex abuser Thomas Teczar, a former Catholic priest. In 2009, Teczar received a 50-year sentence at a criminal trial in which Ms. Merritt served as a Special Prosecutor. She also represented multiple clients in two separate cases against Teczar and the Diocese of Fort Worth.

  • SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – On Jan 8, 2013 the Archdiocese of San Antonio and a Floresville man who claimed he was 12 when White, then a priest, began to molest him in the late 1970s, reached a pre-trial settlement which ended more than two years of litigation against the Archdiocese. A substantial default judgment against Louis White, individually, was awarded to the Plaintiff by the Court when Mr. White failed to appear for trial but is not expected to be collectable. Ms. Merritt was a lead counsel in this case.

  • TMI – The Episcopal School of Texas

  • Rev. Joseph (Nguyen Ngoc) Tu – Diocese of Fort Worth and Dominican Order