Next Phase of Ex-Priest's Sex Abuse Trial Delayed

Modesto Bee
April 12, 2012

STOCKTON -- Phase Two of a civil trial in which a former altar boy is suing the Diocese of Stockton for damages stemming from a child sex abuse claim was postponed Wednesday and will begin Thursday.

A civil jury has found the pastor of St. Joachim Church in Lockeford, Michael Kelly, liable of various actions related to sexual assault.

On the stand, the plaintiff described being groomed, molested and raped by Kelly when they both served at Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton more than 20 years ago, Kelly as priest and plaintiff as an altar boy.

The jury found unanimously in favor of the plaintiff, identified in court papers as John TZ Doe, after two months of testimony. The archdiocese immediately removed him from his position.

This second phase in the trial will be focused on the diocese's actions in handling complaints against Kelly. The hearing was originally scheduled to begin Wednesday, but was continued to today due to jury complications.

Kelly also served in Modesto, Ceres and Sonora before being transferred to San Joaquin County.


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