Church Accused of Setting Boy up for Abuse
By Jonny Bonner
Courthouse News Service
October 9, 2012
A California man claims in court that the Catholic priest who abused him as a child had been previously singled out for "pedophilic" tendencies.
The plaintiff named in the complaint as John C.C. Doe says he is a 24-year-old resident of Sacramento, Calif.
Michael Kelly, as pastor of St. Andrew Parish in San Andreas, sexually abused Doe for three years beginning in 2000, according to the complaint in San Joaquin County Superior Court.
Doe says he was a 12-year-old altar boy when Kelly started visiting his home "unannounced and uninvited."
"Once there, he would wrestle and tickle plaintiff, grooming him for later abuse," the complaint states.
After the initial visits, Kelly repeatedly sodomized and performed forced oral sex on Doe in the boy's bedroom, often when he was home alone, Doe says.
"During these occurrences, Father Michael Kelly would undress himself and plaintiff, and fondle and grope plaintiff's naked body, including his bare stomach, arms, calves, legs, penis, testicles and buttocks," the complaint states. "Father Michael Kelly would also force plaintiff to touch Father Michael Kelly's bare penis and testicles."
Despite alleged knowledge of Kelly's alleged history of abuse, Doe says that the Diocese of Stockton, Bishop Stephen Blaire and Monsignor Richard Ryan failed to inform or alert him or other parishioners.
Kelly was accused, "by several individuals, on multiple occasions dating back to the 1970s, of engaging in sexual misconduct with minor parishioners of the Diocese of Stockton," the complaint states.
He received a psychological evaluation and treatment in 1999, and was reassigned from the diocese to St. Andrew Parish a year later.
"I do not believe that we are able to rule out the possibility that some underlying or latent pedophilic elements may exist in this case," a psychologist concluded, according to the complaint.
"I believe it is prudent to recommend that, in addition to undergoing psychotherapy, he not minister to children alone or the families in which there are children," the doctor allegedly wrote.
Upon reassignment, the church "conspired to suppress and conceal" Kelly's history of abuse, and local law enforcement officials helped shield the abusive acts, Doe says.
No city officials or public entities are named as defendants in Doe's complaint against the bishop, the parish, Blaire, Ryan and Kelly.
He says the cover-up aimed to protect the defendants, preserve monetary support for the church, and to avoid a police investigation and prosecution.
"Defendants had an obligation and duty under law not to hide material facts and information about Father Michael Kelly's past, and his deviant sexual behavior and propensities," the complaint states.
This spring, a San Joaquin County Superior Court jury found Kelly guilty of sexually abusing a minor parishioner from 1984 to 1985.
Doe says that the ordeal caused him to develop severe emotional distress, anxiety, nervousness and fear.
He seeks punitive damages for sexual harassment, fraud and negligence.
He is represented by John Manly with Manly & Stewart of Irvine.