Plaintiff Testifies in Abuse Lawsuit against Father Michael Kelly

By Ross Farrow
Lodi News-Sentinel
March 9, 2012

The 37-year-old man suing popular Lockeford priest Michael Kelly told a jury Thursday that Kelly sexually assaulted him at least twice while babysitting him and his younger sister.

The plaintiff, who claims his memory of the alleged sexual abuse came back to him about January 2006, will continue his testimony this morning. Cross-examination by attorneys for Kelly and the Stockton Diocese will follow, probably today.

Kelly, pastor of St. Joachim’s Catholic Church in Lockeford since 2004, will not be allowed to answer the allegations against him until the plaintiff’s side finishes its case. It will be next week or even later before Kelly takes the witness stand.

In the first episode, the plaintiff testified, Kelly was babysitting him and his sister at their home in Stockton. The plaintiff was a fifth-grader at the time. While the sister was in another room, he testified, Kelly pulled down the pants portion of his pajamas while lying on the floor watching TV, touched and fondled him. When his parents returned home, the plaintiff testified, Kelly told them, “I didn’t expect you home so soon. Next time, stay out longer.”

During what the plaintiff believes to be the second time Kelly babysat, Kelly allegedly bathed him with a wash cloth all over his body, including inappropriate areas, and Kelly also exposed himself to him, the plaintiff said.

Kelly has never been charged or convicted in the case. The plaintiff’s lawyer, John Manly, says the statute of limitations lapsed by the time the case was filed.

About 20 supporters of Kelly continue to come each day of the trial along with Stockton Diocese Bishop Stephen Blaire, Monsignor Richard Ryan and Tim Lennon, a volunteer with an organization called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP.

Testimony will continue at 10 a.m. today in San Joaquin County Superior Court, 222 E. Weber Ave., Department 42, Stockton. Court is scheduled to be in session Tuesday through Friday of next week.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at








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