Deters Wants Priest on Sex Crimes List
Technicality Kept Clergyman from Molestation Charges
By Sharon Coolidge
Cincinnati Enquirer [Ohio]
September 16, 2006
[Note from BishopAccountability.org: See also Archdiocese
Documents, by Laure Quinlivan, WCPO Cincinnati (2/3/05), with links
to documents; Letter
to the Servants of the Paraclete, by Archbishop Pilarczyk (12/18/86);
assignment record of Kelley with links to documents and articles;
and our database
entry on David J. Kelley, with links to additional articles.]
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said the state's statute of limitations
on sex offenses may have prevented his office from charging a Catholic
priest with sexual molestation, but he will fight to put that man on a
statewide sexual offender registry.
His office Friday filed a civil motion in Hamilton County Common Pleas
Court asking that David J. Kelley, who served at St. Therese the Little
Flower in Mount Airy, be ordered to register with the state's Internet
It's the first time a prosecutor in the state has sought to put somebody
who hasn't been convicted of a crime on a sex offender registry.
Deters is using a new law that allows prosecutors to file a civil action
requiring the abuser to register with the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
The law says the action must be based on child sexual abuse.
"Even if the criminal prosecution is barred by a statute of limitations,
we will pursue this new type of civil action," Deters said. "People
will have the ability to discover if a sex offender is living in their
neighborhood, even if they could not be prosecuted due to this technicality."
Kelley, who lives in Nashville, is accused of sexually abusing a young
student at the church's grade school in the early 1980s. However, because
of the statute of limitations, criminal and civil charges could not be
Kelley was ordained in 1974 and taught religion at Elder High School from
1974 to 1984. He also worked as an associate pastor at St. Therese the
Little Flower and at Our Lady of Victory in Delhi Township, as well as
a chaplain at Mercy Hospital Anderson.
Kelley is on administrative leave.
In the request for registry, the prosecutor's office must prove the sexual
molestation. But because the action is civil instead of criminal, a judge
will weigh the evidence to determine if the crime was more likely than
not to have occurred instead of finding the abuse happened beyond a reasonable
If a judge determines the abuse occurred, Kelley must register with the
Ohio Attorney General's Internet Civil Registry.
In addition, the defendant must also register his address with the Hamilton
County Sheriff's Office and will not be able to live within 1,000 feet
of a school. Failing to do this is a felony of the fifth degree.
After six years, the law allows a defendant to ask the court to remove
his name from the registry.
No hearing date has been set.