Former Lockeford Priest Michael Kelly Faces More Abuse Allegations
By Ross Farrow
November 8, 2012
Former Lockeford priest Michael Kelly and the Stockton Diocese have been sued for the third time on allegations that Kelly sexually abused former altar boys.
The most recent lawsuit was filed by Orange County attorney John Manly on Wednesday morning in San Joaquin County Superior Court in Stockton.
The suit alleges that a former altar boy, who was 10 years old at the time, was sexually assaulted three times in about 2000, when the boy attended Mokelumne Hill Catholic Church in Calaveras County. Mokelumne Hill is a mission church to St. Andrew's in San Andreas. Kelly was pastor of both churches at the time.
Kelly was pastor at Lockeford's St. Joachim Catholic Church in Lockeford from 2004 until he was removed as a priest on April 6, the same day a San Joaquin County Superior Court jury found him liable of sexual assault relating to incidents in the mid-1980s. Kelly left abruptly for Ireland about a week after being found liable.
He has never been arrested or charged criminally.
Stockton Diocese Bishop Stephen Blaire and the diocese's vicar general, Monsignor Richard Ryan, were also named individually as defendants. The lawsuit was filed in San Joaquin County because the diocese office is in Stockton.
The most recent suit, filed behalf of the former altar boy identified only as John MT Doe, was the second suit filed in less than two months. A former altar boy filed suit on similar allegations on Sept. 11. That plaintiff was an altar boy in San Andreas in the early 2000s.
On April 6, a San Joaquin County jury unanimously found Kelly civilly liable of sexual assault in incidents dating back to 1984 and 1985, according to Manly. Kelly then flew to his native Ireland and isn't believed to have been in the United States since. Manly said he'd like to have Kelly extradited and returned to Stockton so he can answer both lawsuits.
Blaire and Ryan are named in the suit, according to court documents, because they allegedly allowed Kelly to continue as a priest even though they knew that Kelly had a history of questionable activity with children.
Stockton Diocese attorney Paul Balestracci said he received a copy of the lawsuit, but he was out much of the day Wednesday and hadn't had a chance to review it.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org