Man Suing Priest Details Alleged Abuse

By Jennie Rodriguez-Moore
The Record
March 11, 2012

STOCKTON - A Fairfax man who said he was sexually molested as a child by the Rev. Michael Kelly, a popular Lockeford priest, continued his courtroom testimony Friday describing the abuse in a still-unfolding civil case.

The 37-year-old former military man, who had served as an altar boy under Kelly's direction at Stockton's Cathedral of the Annunciation more than 20 years ago, is suing the priest and Bishop Stephen Blaire of the Diocese of Stockton as a way to seek justice, he said.

Identified in court papers as John TZ Doe, the plaintiff said he tried filing criminal charges.

The statute of limitations had run out.

"I just feel that when I was a little kid that I wasn't able to defend myself. I spent my whole life trying to be strong," the plaintiff said. "That little boy inside of me - I felt that I had to stand up for him.

"It's not about the money. ... This is the only way for me to get justice."

During his testimony, John TZ Doe has described being groomed with extra attention, then being touched inappropriately while the priest baby-sat him and later sodomized by the priest at a remote location when he was about 10 years old.

The plaintiff's complaint is based on repressed memories he said he recovered in 2006. He is a former U.S. Air Force major currently on medical leave from his commercial pilot job at Southwest Airlines.

John TZ Doe said he became depressed by the memories and suffers from nightmares and trust issues.

Defense attorneys challenge the validity of his recovered memories.

After an internal investigation in 2006, the Diocese of Stockton reinstated Kelly to his position as pastor of St. Joachim Church in Lockeford.

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

Cross-examination of John TZ Doe has yet to take place in the civil jury trial. Testimony will continue Tuesday.



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