Second Clergy Abuse Lawsuit Filed against Father Michael Kelly

By Ross Farrow
Lodi News-Sentinel
September 11, 2012

Michael Kelly

A second sexual abuse lawsuit was filed Tuesday against former Lockeford priest Michael Kelly.

Kelly allegedly assaulted a former altar boy in the early 2000s in San Andreas. The plaintiff, now 24 and living in Sacramento County, attended St. Andrew Catholic Parish in San Andreas at the time. Kelly was head priest at the Calaveras County parish.

Attorneys Vince Finaldi and John Manly will conduct a news conference Wednesday in Stockton to announce details of the lawsuit. The plaintiff is identified only as “John CC Doe” to protect his privacy as a childhood sexual assault victim, Finaldi said.

In addition to Kelly, the St. Andrew Parish, Stockton Diocese Bishop Stephen Blaire and Monsignor Richard Ryan are named in the lawsuit, Finaldi said in a media advisory.

Blaire and Ryan conspired to allow Kelly to remain in the ministry despite Kelly being unfit to minister to children and knowledge of several past allegations against Kelly, according to Finaldi.

Attorney Thomas Beatty, who represented Kelly in a civil case earlier this year, said Tuesday that he was unaware that a second suit was filed against Kelly. Beatty said he will likely be retained in the most recent lawsuit, but he hadn’t been as of Tuesday afternoon.

The suit filed Tuesday alleges that Kelly would travel to the plaintiff’s home unannounced, often with the boy’s parents away from home. The boy attempted suicide after Kelly’s sexual assaults, according to the lawsuit.

Prior to Kelly’s alleged sexual abuse, the boy was well adjusted and popular, but then he began to withdraw from family and friends, the suit alleges. His grades and motivation dropped dramatically, Finaldi claims.

Kelly was pastor of St. Joachim’s Catholic Church in Lockeford from 2004 until he was removed from his position on April 6. A San Joaquin County Superior Court jury ruled the same day that Kelly was civilly liable of sexually assaulting former altar boy Travis Trotter in the 1980s.

Kelly was never criminally charged in the Trotter case.

Trotter, who attended Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton and a K-8 school of the same name, now lives in Fairfax.

Later in April, the diocese settled the case with Trotter for $3.75 million. Kelly fled the United States for his native Ireland in mid-April. Kelly said in a note to his supporters that he sought medical care and time to be with his family in Ireland.

A case management conference has been scheduled for Feb. 8, 2013, before San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Barbara Kronlund. The suit was filed in San Joaquin County because the diocese office is in Stockton, Finaldi said.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at








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