Retired Priest Booked in Sex Case
Alleged Victim Accuses Man of Misconduct at St. John the Baptist Church
By Joe Segura
Long Beach Press Telegram [Seal Beach CA]
Downloaded April 26, 2003
SEAL BEACH A retired Roman Catholic priest was arrested Friday in his Leisure World home for alleged sexual misconduct more than 20 years ago with a Costa Mesa boy.
Denis Lyons, 69, is charged with one count of a lewd and lascivious act and four counts of oral copulation with a male under 16 years.
Investigators opened a file last year after being contacted about allegations that most of the acts occurred at St. John the Baptist Roman Catholic Church between 1978-81.
The Orange County district attorney's complaint, filed at the Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach, states the alleged victim, now 38 years old, was a parishioner of the church. He was between 13 and 16 during the encounters, the complaint states.
Lyons befriended the youth's family and would go to their home to discuss family issues with the alleged victim's father, the complaint states.
The priest allegedly made advances on the youth at the home, but the bulk of the alleged misconduct occurred during the priest's counseling sessions, in the church rectory, for drinking problems the youth had in his early teens, according to court documents.
Lyons would often visit the family's home after the session, the DA's complaint adds.
The sessions did not help solve the drinking problem, according to the complaint.
The alleged victim "would often drink alcohol after the sessions to try and forget what had happened,' the complaint added.
Lyons put on leave
Bishop Tod Brown, head of the Catholic Diocese of Orange, put the priest on administrative leave last year, shortly after the allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.
In a prepared statement, the bishop said he plans to cooperate with law enforcement.
"It is heart wrenching that a priest may have engaged in such grave misconduct warranting criminal charges and an arrest,' Brown said.
The diocese's Shirl Giacomi told reporters that Lyons admitted in 1993 to "inappropriate behavior with two adults.' He was evaluated at the time, she said, and it was determined that he was not a pedophile or a risk to children.
Lyons was arrested without incident around 2:45 p.m., said Costa Mesa police Sgt. Zack Hoferitza. The retired priest was booked in the Costa Mesa jail, where he is being held on $100,000 bail.
Attorney Gary Pohlson, retained by Lyons, is working to gain the priest's release pending trial, district attorney spokeswoman Michelle Emard said.
If he remains in custody, Lyons could be arraigned as early as Tuesday, Emard added.
Lyons, if convicted, could face a sentence
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
money guide of hospital products guide of international market guide of repair roof before winter guide of website income guide of secure your business guide of face makeup tools guide of jewellery arts guide of tv shows guide of best places on earth guide of job plans guide of cheap cars guide of creating products guide of women tools guide of eat less guide of car insurance process guide of sport stuff guide of garden home guide of cheap insurances guide of electronic tech guide of healthy feeding guide of what is next in fashion guide of improve company guide of tactical insurance guide of make money at home guide of development in business guide of dept loan guide of cooking secrets guide of correct companies guide of jobs with more income guide of reviews o general products guide of improving technology guide of ideal job guide of business sectors guide of dept problem guide of unlimited business guide of suitable insurance company guide of money cars guide of how to market guide of heatlhy diet tips guide of decoration tipse guide of security problems