Stockton Diocese to Pay 3.7 Million for Fr. Kelly Abuse Suit

By Joey Piscitelli
The AlterNet
April 21, 2012

On Friday morning, the Stockton Diocese settled a lawsuit against Fr. Michael Kelly, for 3.7 million, according to the spokesman for the Diocese. Fr. Kelly was found liable last week for a child sex abuse case, and he fled to Ireland this week. This case was a highly disputed case, and many supporters of the priest were very vocal during the last month about their belief that the current Pastor of St. Joachims, in Lockeford, was not only innocent; but he was a target of a plaintiff who had “false memorys” and was fabricating a tale for money.

The case will have a far reaching impact, as it was a case of highly disputed “repressed memory”, claimed by the victim, Z7 John Doe, represented by attorney John Manly.

Fr. Kelly had sent a letter to Bishop Blaire of Stockton a few days ago, complaining that he had stomach problems because of the trial, and he disappeared shortly afterwords. Cardinal Roger Mahony, who was the Bishop of the Diocese of Stockton at the time of the abuse 25 years ago, was expected to take the stand this week, and the church apparently was doing some damage control, before Cardinal Mahony was due to testify. Mahony had been suspected of shuffling Fr. Kelly in the Diocese, and the accusation, if proven in court, would have been devastating to the church. Mahony had previously been accused of transporting infamous serial molester Fr. Oliver O’Grady in the same diocese, and a past lawsuit accusing Mahony and the diocese for the same activity had resulted in a 30 million dollar court judgment the diocese.

This case may very well affect similar cases in California and other states, as it will set a precedent for jury trial decisions in repressed memory claims of child sex abuse. The jury had decided by unanimous decision in favor of the plaintiff in the case, and this fact can additionally influence public opinion on the subject.

In the meantime, Cardinal Mahony, who retired last year, has once again escaped further scrutiny on the witness stand, which may have produced further evidence of other implications of wrongdoings by the notorius cleric. The Diocese of Los Angeles, had also settled a 660 million dollar settlement for 500 plaintiffs a few years ago, while Cardinal Mahony was the top catholic hierarchy figure there.

Victims advocates were proud of the plaintiff in this case, as it was difficult for him to re-live the trauma of the abuse, and the court process was controversial. “Hopefully this settlement will inspire other victims of clergy abuse to come forward, as there are many other alleged victims who suffer in the Diocese of Stockton in silence, and have never sought justice for the crimes committed against them”, said North Cal leader of SNAP- The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests”. -Ibid – Joey Piscitelli








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