Longtime Catholic educator accused of abuse in South Boston

After working in Catholic education for nearly 40 years, Paul Doty, a former principal and educator of three religious schools in Boston, has been accused of sexual abuse by five men from South Boston.

According to attorney Mitchell Garabedian, the attorney representing the five men, the alleged abuse by Doty occurred while he was principal of the former St. Augustine’s School from 1986 to 1996, when his accusers were between the ages of seven and 14.

“The question remains, where were the supervisors of Mr. Doty and why weren’t they paying attention? I’ve asked the Archdiocese of Boston to look into this,” said Garabedian, who is known for helping the Boston Globe expose abusive priests in its 2002 Spotlight reports.

While in Massachusetts, Doty was principal of Charlestown Catholic School and St. Patrick’s School in Roxbury. He went on to work at elementary schools in Alabama, Ohio and Kentucky after leaving the Boston area.

Archdiocese of Boston spokesman Terrence Donilon said the church promptly notified law enforcement, as they do with all claims of child abuse, in this instance.

“We cannot comment upon the specifics of any allegation individually or in the aggregate,” Donilon said in an emailed statement.

Robert Hoatson, president of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity that assists victims of sexual abuse, is working with Garabedian to let the public know about these allegations.

“One of the goals is to prevent him from ever serving in a school again, at least, or for people to be very vigilant about vetting him,” Hoatson said. “I don’t think he will ever be working in Cincinnati or Boston again. And we did send press releases to the media in Kentucky and Alabama, so hopefully he won’t be working there anymore.”

The five men who have come forward thus far from South Boston are between the ages of 32 and 50, Garabedian said, which meets the statute of limitations requirement.

Hoatson said it is common for victims of sexual abuse to come forward when they are in their mid-30s, as they begin to deal with some of the trauma from their past.

“It very often has to do with their failed relationships, inability to keep jobs, run-ins with the law, medical issues, depression and anxiety or sometimes it’s when their own children reach the age at when they were abused,” he said.

Garabedian first heard from his clients about one to two years ago and reached out to Hoatson to assist with their cases a few weeks ago.

Hoatson said he feels somewhat connected to the case, as he encouraged Doty to apply for a scholarship to a conference he oversaw with the Catholic Urban Educators of America during the time of the alleged abuse.

Hoatson was the Assistant Headmaster of Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury.

“So it’s another reason why I feel kind of connected to this case and it’s very scary,” Hoatson said. “Unfortunately I may have inadvertently enabled this man to continue his participation in inner city schools.”

Garabedian is awaiting answers from the Archdiocese of Boston as he works to settle these cases and prepare them for litigation.

“My clients are concerned that other victims of Paul Doty may be out there since he worked in several states including Massachusetts, Kentucky, Alabama and Ohio,” he said. “It’s time for the Archdiocese to reveal the truth so that the victims can really gain a degree of closure. Transparency leads to that truth. This is all about the victims trying to heal and children being kept safe.”

Jordan Frias

Jordan Frias is an editorial assistant at Boston Herald and a contributor of Spare Change News. He is vice president of the New England Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and a graduate of Northeastern University's School of Journalism.