Abuse Suit Names O'Grady, Mahony

By Scott Smith
The Record
November 20, 2008

STOCKTON - Attorneys for a local man who said a notorious priest molested him as a boy filed a lawsuit Wednesday that also seeks to hold Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony responsible for allowing years of sexual abuse.

This is one of many lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church stemming from Oliver O'Grady's alleged abuse but the first that tries to hold Mahony personally responsible, attorney John Manly said from the front steps of the San Joaquin County Superior Court.

"Oliver O'Grady is a shark. He's a lion," Manly said. "And Cardinal Mahony was the lion tamer, and he opened the cage."

O'Grady, who is now defrocked and living in his native Ireland, was the subject of an Academy Award-nominated documentary film.

Manly filed the lawsuit on behalf of an unidentified local man now in his early 30s who accused O'Grady of molesting him from ages 6 to 9 in the early 1980s. The man was a student at Church of Presentation's school in Stockton. Mahony was bishop of the Stockton Diocese at the time.

Manly's 45-page lawsuit sues O'Grady, Mahony, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton, St. Anne's Roman Catholic Parish in Lodi, Presentation Roman Catholic Parish in Stockton and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly in Ireland, where O'Grady was trained.

Stockton Diocese spokeswoman Sister Terry Davis declined to comment on the lawsuit, saying the diocese hadn't yet been served with it.

Manly said he and his client are targeting Mahony because Mahony tried to cover up O'Grady's scandalous behavior in order to become the cardinal archbishop of Los Angeles, something Mahony achieved in 1991.

Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, said in a phone interview that he could not comment on the lawsuit, which he had not seen. Tamberg instead criticized Manly.

"John Manly has had a longstanding grudge against Cardinal Mahony and takes every opportunity to say nasty things about him," Tamberg said. "And it's all nonsense."

O'Grady, who admitted to molesting 25 children, was convicted in 1993 of molesting two minor brothers and spent seven years in state prison before he was deported back to his native Ireland.

He went underground last year, after the release of "Deliver Us From Evil," a documentary film about him. Manly also is featured in the film.

While filing the lawsuit, Manly appealed to authorities to track down O'Grady and have him committed as a sexually violent predator. He said there are more victims locally who have not yet come to terms with their abuse and stepped forward, he said.

"The truth is this man molested morning, noon and night for the better part of 30 years here and molested hundreds and hundreds of children," Manly said. "This diocese made him. They created him. They allowed him to do what he did."

Contact reporter Scott Smith at (209) 546-8296 or


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