Diocese to Stand Trial in Civil Molestation Suit

The Record
April 20, 2011

STOCKTON - A judge has ruled that the Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton will stand trial in civil court along with a Lockeford priest accused of molesting an unidentified boy nearly 30 years ago.

The trial against the Rev. Michael Kelly, 61, is expected to begin this summer. A 36-year-old man filed the lawsuit in 2007, saying he regained repressed memories of sexual abuse that occurred when he was between 7 and 11.

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge David Warner heard arguments last week from attorneys for the diocese, who said the diocese should not be held responsible for the abuse of which the priest is accused.

On Monday, Warner dismissed from the case two diocese-operated entities formed after the alleged abuse, but he also said the diocese itself remains in the case.

Attorneys for the alleged victim, identified only as John TZ Doe, argue that the diocese should have known the priest posed a threat. They seek an unspecified amount of money for their client's mental suffering.

The case is due back for a mandatory settlement conference in June, with the trial scheduled to begin in July.

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