Keeping the Spotlight On Clergy Sexual Abuse

Many of you have seen the Academy Award winning film Spotlight. If have not, you really should.

Spotlight on Clergy abuse The film depicts the clergy abuse crisis in the Catholic Church spanning a thirty year period and ends with the Boston Globe 2002 expose of the Archdiocese of Boston. Today the Church considers the “crisis” old news. Unfortunately, it is not. Priests continue to molest children and Youth-serving organizations continue to cover up these unspeakable crimes.

Last week, our firm filed a civil lawsuit in Nueces County, Texas against the , 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 the Plaintiff, who at that time was a child.

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.

The victim is identified in the lawsuit by the pseudonym, Jane Doe 108. 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 now pending.

The abuse of this young woman occurred only a few years ago, not decades ago. Only through the continued “Spotlight” on youth-serving organizations focused by the public through jury verdicts, the media and the justice system, can these crimes be brought to light and other children protected.

The Law Office of Tahira Khan Merritt exclusively represents victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. We stand ready to help you with your legal needs. If you were sexually assaulted or sexually abused, our law firm can help explain your legal remedies. For almost twenty years, we have represented victims of sex crimes in civil cases against institutions, including colleges and universities, religious organizations, such as the Catholic church, Baptist church, Greek Orthodox church, Episcopal Church, and Presbyterian church among others. We have also represented victims of sexual abuse in schools, youth sports organizations, youth camps, daycares, scouting and the like. You may confidentially contact our office at 214-503-7300 or through our website :

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