|Abuse Suit against Diocese Dropped
Ex-Parochial Student Won't Pursue Case
By Anna Kaplan
November 29, 2007
STOCKTON - A civil suit accusing a deceased Lodi Catholic priest of sexually abusing a second-grade girl was dropped by the plaintiff on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old former parochial school student filed a suit against the Diocese of Stockton in December alleging that the Rev. Murty Fahy sexually abused her for three years, starting when she was in the second grade at St. Anne's Elementary School in Lodi.
He was a priest until his death in 2002.
"When victims first come forward, it's like opening up a fresh wound. At this time, it was in her best interests to work at her own healing rather than go through the process of litigation," said M. Ryan DiMaria, one of the Newport Beach-based attorneys representing the woman.
The diocese had conducted its own investigation into the accusations, according to a diocese press release Wednesday.
"The investigation did not reveal any facts which suggested that Father Fahy had ever acted improperly toward children," Bishop Stephen Blaire said. "We know that the many people who knew and admired Father Fahy will find comfort in this news."
The case was one of three clergy abuse suits filed in January against the diocese in San Joaquin County Superior Court. The other two were directed at Oliver O'Grady, a former priest and convicted child molester who had been deported to his native Ireland for his crimes.
The suits involving O'Grady, filed by a 42-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman, respectively, are in the process of being appealed. They were dismissed because a related case in Sacramento was questioned, DiMaria said.
O'Grady was convicted in 1993 of molesting two boys, served seven years in Ione's Mule Creek State Prison and was deported to Ireland in 2000. He disappeared after the award-winning documentary about him, "Deliver Us from Evil," came out in theaters.
"The many people who've been abused by priests in the Diocese of Stockton will continue to come forward and hold them accountable," said DiMaria about the future of clergy abuse lawsuits.
Contact reporter Anna Kaplan at (209) 239-3324 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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