Detective James Dougherty Honored for Work On Philly’s Clergy Sex Abuse Cases

During the Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy lunch on April 11, awards were given to those who go above and beyond for victims of crime. Detective James Dougherty won the Barbara McPherson Award/Police Personnel Award.

Here’s an excerpt from the program book: “…He worked with compassion and diligence on the clergy abuse cases resulting in many victims revealing their victimization. The prosecutors in these trials stated that in their opinion, the convictions of the offenders would have been impossible without the contributions of Det. Dougherty.

One example of his talent and compassion for the victim and for justice is exemplified in a case in which the victim died. At the vicitm’s funeral his therapist stated the following. “There is one more person who had a very strong effect on Sean’s life. This person is someone who Sean came to rely on and trust when he feared abandonment by others. “Jim Dougherty, in the short period of time when you were in Sean’s life, you had a tremendous impact. You also had want Sean desired, a purpose. He would tell me you had a unique talent and a special gift to give to others. You were meant to be the person that you are, at this time, in this place.”



10 thoughts on “Detective James Dougherty Honored for Work On Philly’s Clergy Sex Abuse Cases

  1. This goes along with what one Mother said to me..they were treated by the DA’s office the way they thought they would be treated by the Church and were not. So many strong relationships forged in these investigations. Detective Walsh..Charlie Gallagher..Det. Dougherty…such good, fine men who want to protect kids and often had to deal with justice denied due to statutes. It really must have been healing to victims to encounter men of the same generation and religion as those of their abusers and colluders…and see that there are good people who will help a child or a victim.

  2. These good, fine men were professionals, heroes, comforters, counselors, guardians, protectors, and friends. Profoundly skilled and decent human beings.

    Thank you.

  3. Kathy,

    These are men who may even had to deal with the struggle of their faith and I know for fact who have been chastised by fellow Catholics for doing what is right, and that is seeing that justice is done.

    Unlike someone else these are the men who truly deserve that standing ovation.

    I wish I could say or do more then say THANK YOU.

  4. When the Lynn trial began it stirred a lot of emotions and triggers for many victims. One man who was abused as a child..the abusive priest removed in 2005..nothing falling within the statutes..was having a particularly hard time with the trial in the news. His abuse was already reported officially.
    At the same time that he reached out to me I had been in contact with a priest who had a profound effect on my childhood and also was familiar to the victim..when I told the priest of the difficult time the man was having he directed me to victims assistance. When I told a retired law enforcement official who worked on the 2005 report,,he told me to give the victim his cell phone number and he would talk with him at anytime..they talked late one night when the man was spiraling..and they talked again when the retired law enforcement official called to check in with him a few weeks later. None of this a law enforcement issue..nothing able to be prosecuted..the priest already removed..just the kindness and compassion of one human being to another..that he could offer this man his time.
    This situation had a lasting impact on me because I had a personal connection to the victim and needed someone to and him. One man man did not. It could not have been more crystal clear.

  5. My brother was called as a witness in the Shero/Engelhardt case. Detective Dougherty spent many, many hours with him – of course interviewing him, but also reassuring him about being a witness, etc. He spent a lot of time lessening his fears. I was also interviewed by him at my house for more than 4 hours, and he showed such kindness and compassion. Most of my other family members who were interviewed agreed. Because of my firsthand experience, I certainly agree with Kathy Kane’s comments. Detective Dougherty definitely deserved the accolades in my book!

    1. An interview for 4 hours or a DAs guide/lesson on the q&a that we have seen scripted in these trials?

      1. Mark, You do know the difference between a D.A. and a police detective, right? Gosh I guess all the priests who admitted to their crimes and abuses were lying, too. And, what’s your theory on the archdiocesan memos detailing the knowledge of these crimes?

  6. I was interviewed by Det. Walsh and a women Detective. They came to my therapist office and spent 5 hours with me. I totally agree with Kathy. Both Detectives were very kind and sensitive to my needs, they couldn’t have been more respectful of me as a human being. By this time I had already appeared before Lynn, the difference between the Detectives and Lynn was night and day. They kept in contact with me for several months and seem glad to hear from me. They will never know the extent of their kindness and how it impacted on all of us as survivors.

  7. Mark,
    As I stated above, it was an interview. Detective Dougherty came to my house. There was no guide/lesson, as they didn’t know if I had important knowledge to share at the trial. Does that clear it up for you?

  8. I’ve known both of these gentlemen, Joe Walsh and James Dougherty, for many years while a member of the Philadelphia Police Department. Both are extremely conscientious, professional and thorough when it comes to investigations and they are mature and responsible in their professional endeavors. Also, they are truly genuine and compassionate and their contributions over these many years of investigating clergy sexual abuse have paid great dividends for the victims and their families.

    Michael Skiendzielewski
    Philadelphia Police Dept.

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