Harvard Psychiatrist Denounces Repressed Memory Claim in Michael Kelly Trial

Lodi News-Sentinel
March 23, 2012

A Harvard University psychiatrist testified in the civil clergy sexual abuse trial on Thursday that "repressed" or "recovered" memory hasn't been scientifically proven.

J. Alexander Bodkin, an associate professor at Harvard's medical school, said he examined the plaintiff suing Lockeford priest Michael Kelly on sexual abuse allegations and found the plaintiff to have long-term "obsessive-compulsive disorder" that goes back to his childhood, according to defense attorney Thomas Beatty.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is defined as people having unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, obsessions or behaviors.

The plaintiff is a 37-year-old man suing Kelly on allegations that the Lockeford priest sexually assaulted him when the plaintiff was an altar boy in the 1980s at Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton. Kelly has been pastor of St. Joachim's Catholic Church in Lockeford the past eight years.

Bodkin didn't complete his testimony on Thursday. Questioning, including cross-examination, is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at San Joaquin County Superior Court, 444 E. Weber Ave., Department 42, fourth floor, Stockton.

Earlier Thursday, Judge Bob McNatt dismissed one of the jurors because he was ill Thursday and wasn't expected back for court today. McNatt said he didn't want the juror to miss two days of testimony. One of the four alternates was selected to replace the dismissed juror.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at








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