Deters Wants Priest on Sex Crimes List
Technicality Kept Clergyman from Molestation Charges

By Sharon Coolidge
Cincinnati Enquirer [Ohio]
September 16, 2006

[Note from 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); a detailed 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 Civil Registry.

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 filed.

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 doubt.

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.



Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.