Ex-altar Boy Describes Abuse

By Jennie Rodriguez-Moore
Stockton Record
March 9, 2012

He remembers receiving extra attention. Feeling special. Feeling favored by the Rev. Michael Kelly, a local priest then at Stockton's Cathedral of the Annunciation.

But he also links darker memories to Kelly.

"Both of the times I remember him babysitting (me), he sexually abused me," a 37-year-old Fairfax man, identified in court documents as John TZ Doe, said in a civil trial Thursday.

The former Annunciation altar boy is suing Kelly and the Diocese of Stockton for damages based on repressed memories of sex abuse during the 1980s he said he recovered in 2006.

Defense attorneys are challenging the legitimacy of his recovered memories.

John TZ Doe is a former U.S. Air Force major currently on medical leave from his commercial pilot job at Southwest Airlines.

The plaintiff has become depressed since he recalled traumatic memories of sex abuse, said his attorney, Newport Beach-based John Manley.

The plaintiff took the stand Thursday and described child-grooming behavior typical of pedophiles.

According to the plaintiff, Kelly often tickled him and paid him special attention.

"In general, the way I felt was ... that he liked me the best," he said.

He remembers Kelly offered to babysit him and his little sister on two occasions at the family's home.

He said on the first occasion, Kelly touched the plaintiff's private area while they lay together on the living room floor watching a children's program on television.

He said he felt confused, scared and uncomfortable. "I felt like gross," he said.

On the second occasion, he said Kelly touched his private parts while giving him a bath. And after the bath, he said Kelly made him perform sexual acts.

"I felt like I knew what was happening was not right," the plaintiff said. Kelly told him to keep the episodes a secret, he said.

When the plaintiff's allegations first surfaced in 2006, the Diocese of Stockton conducted an internal investigation.

Kelly was placed on administrative leave for six months and was reinstated to his current position as pastor of St. Joachim Church in Lockeford.

Criminal charges have never been filed because of the statute of limitations, the plaintiff's attorneys have said.

Kelly is under investigation by the Calaveras County Sheriff's Department on a separate complaint of sexual molestation during the 1990s.

Kelly maintains he is innocent of all the allegations. The courtroom has been full of Kelly's supporters.

According to the defense, Kelly was an outgoing, playful and maybe immature young priest early in his occupation. But they deny that he committed sex crimes.

The plaintiff began to tell his account Thursday. Cross-examination of the plaintiff by defense attorneys could begin as soon as today.

Contact reporter Jennie Rodriguez-Moore at (209) 943-8564 or Visit her blog at








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