Sacramento diocese adds man convicted in Placer County to list of priests accused of sex abuse

Sacramento Bee [Sacramento CA]

February 1, 2024

By Rosalio Ahumada

The Catholic Diocese of Sacramento has added a name to a list of clergy members accused of sexual abuse that now includes a priest who served in another Northern California diocese but was convicted of molesting a girl while visiting Placer County.

Mark Kristy, once a priest of the religious order Discalced Carmelite Fathers, has been removed from the ministry and lives in Napa County. Kristy was convicted of child sexual molestation and sentenced in 2022 to one year in jail, according to the diocese.

Officials of the diocese were informed of the allegations against Kristy in 2015. Kristy was accused of sexually touching the girl who was younger than 14 and sexually exposing her sometime from 2001 through 2004, according to the diocese. Diocese officials said they reported the allegation to law enforcement and cooperated with authorities in Placer County, which eventually led to Kristy’s prosecution.

On Feb. 16, 2022, Kristy pleaded no contest to one felony count of committing lewd or lascivious acts with a child younger than 14 in September 2004, according to Napa Superior Court records.

On June 21, Kristy’s child sex abuse case in Placer County was transferred to Napa County, where he’s serving his probation.

Kristy is identified in court records as Mark Gregory Kristy. The court ordered Kristy to serve five years of probation, which ends March 16, 2027, as part of his sentence, court records show.

Diocese officials said Kristy, who was born in the United States and is now 71 years old, attended seminary at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, according to the diocese. An August 2014 article published in the Catholic World Report indicated Kristy grew up in Southern California, where he was the drummer of Christian rock band in the 1970s, ordained as a priest in 1985, became a psychotherapist and worked at parishes in Tucson and the Los Angeles archdiocese before moving to Oakville in Napa County. The article also mentions Kristy still offered counseling to clients professionally, and Kristy in 2014 was living at the Oakville Carmelite House of Prayer within the Catholic Diocese of Santa Rosa and celebrating mass at other locations in Northern California.

In late September 2022, officials at the Cathedral of St. Eugene in Santa Rosa posted a message on the parish’s website telling parishioners that Kristy was living within the Diocese of Santa Rosa without the diocese’s permission or approval.

“Under no circumstance is he to be allowed to exercise any form of ministry in or for the Diocese,” the online message said. “The faithful are advised that they are not to participate in any way with any priestly activities which he might illicitly offer.”

The Diocese of Sacramento initially released the list of accused clergy members in April 2019. Sex abuse victims and advocates at the time argued that releasing the list after a long delay put other potential victims at risk, ignored the current danger and fixated on past cases in which the statute of limitations had run out. The list includes the dates and locations of their assignments in the diocese of Sacramento, which covers Catholic churches and outreach from Sacramento to the Oregon border, as well as the Lake Tahoe area.

In a letter posted online in February, Bishop Jaime Soto announced that the Diocese of Sacramento is facing insolvency following more than 200 lawsuits alleging the sexual abuse of minors as the result of state law extending the statute of limitations for such cases.

“I am committed to resolving all claims as fairly as possible,” Soto wrote in the February letter. “Given the number of claims that have been presented, however, resolving them may overwhelm the diocese’s finances available to satisfy such claims.”

ROSALIO AHUMADA 916-326-5549 Rosalio Ahumada writes breaking news stories related to crime and public safety for The Sacramento Bee. He speaks Spanish fluently and has worked as a news reporter in the Central Valley since 2004.