Diocese Settles with Man Who Claimed Sexual Abuse
Jonathan Kirrer Accused Rev. Denis Lyons of Molesting Him When Kirrer Was a Boy in 1990s

By Andrew Galvin
Orange County Register
February 27, 2009

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange has settled a lawsuit brought by a man who alleged he was sexually abused by a priest when he was a boy in Costa Mesa during the mid-1990s.

Alleged victim Jon Kirrer has settled a lawsuit claiming that Rev. Denis Lyons abused him at a Costa Mesa church.

The terms of the settlement in the suit brought by Jonathan Kirrer, 24, weren't disclosed.

Kirrer claims that Rev. Denis Lyons sexually abused him when Kirrer was a student at St. John the Baptist School in 1994 and 1995.

Lyons was removed from ministry in 2002. The diocese has paid more than $4 million to settle sex-abuse claims involving him.

The Orange County District Attorney's Office has said it is investigating Kirrer's allegations and is considering bringing criminal charges against Lyons.

"My client is pleased that the civil case is resolved, but he is looking forward to cooperating with the District Attorney to see that criminal charges are brought against Father Lyons," said V. James DeSimone, Kirrer's lawyer.

The diocese plans to use insurance funds and an administrative account to pay for the settlement, spokesman Ryan Lilyengren said. No funds will come from any diocese ministry's account, or from parishes or schools, he said.

"Bishop (Tod) Brown and the diocese remain committed to insuring the mistakes of the past are never repeated," Lilyengren said.

Peter Joseph Sullivan, an attorney for Lyons, declined to comment, saying he hadn't yet seen the final settlement.

Contact the writer: 714-704-3705 or


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