Manly & Stewart: Diocese of Stockton Sued by Another Victim of Father Michael Kelly

By Pr Newswire
Sys-Con Media
November 07, 2012

[with pdf]

STOCKTON, Calif., Nov. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Another lawsuit was filed in San Joaquin County, California today against the Diocese of Stockton, Bishop Steven Blaire, Monsignor Richard Ryan and Father Michael Kelly by a man claiming that Kelly sexually abused him as a child in the early 2000's. This is the second victim of Father Michael Kelly to file suit after a jury unanimously found him guilty of sexually assaulting Travis Trotter earlier this year.

The Complaint for Damages charges the defendants with ten counts, including sexual battery, fraud and intentional affliction of emotional distress, seeking punitive damages.

Plaintiff's attorney Vince Finaldi from the law firm Manly and Stewart said, "Father Michael Kelly was known to have sexual misconduct issues.  Despite this knowledge, Father Kelly was placed in a position of trust and authority as pastor of St. Andrew Parish and Mokelumne Hill Parish. There he used his position to sexually assault my client, who was 10 years old at the time of his abuse. Had the Diocese of Stockton acted prudently by removing Fr. Kelly from ministry, he would never have had the opportunity to sexually abuse my client."

The complaint states Father Michael Kelly "...had previously been accused, by several individuals, on multiple occasions dating back to the 1970's of engaging in sexual misconduct with minor parishioners of the Diocese of Stockton..." and "...had been sent for psychological evaluation, counseling and treatment as a result of these transgressions."

A California licensed psychologist who conducted an evaluation of Kelly in 1999 concluded "I do not believe that we are able to rule out the possibility that some underlying or latent pedophilic elements may exist in this case…I believe it is prudent to recommend that, in addition to undergoing psychotherapy, he not minister to children alone or families in which there are children."

The Diocese ignored the warning and made Michael Kelly a pastor and, according to the complaint, assigned him "…duties that included hearing the confessions of minors, overseeing altar servers, and running counseling programs, youth programs, and church‐sponsored trips and events, allowing Father Michael Kelly to physically and sexually interact with the children, including Plaintiff." It alleges the Diocese of Stockton, including Bishop Blaire, Monsignor Ryan and Father Kelly, engaged in a conspiracy to conceal allegations of sexual misconduct lodged against Father Kelly in an attempt to shield their reputation and allow donations and to continue flowing to the Diocese.

The complaint further alleges that in 2000, when John MT Doe was a ten year old altar boy, Michael Kelly sexually assaulted and sodomized Plaintiff while Plaintiff wore his altar boy robes.

On April 6, 2012, a San Joaquin County jury unanimously found Michael Kelly committed sexual battery against another victim, decorated Air Force officer Travis Trotter, when he was a minor in 1984‐1985. The day after the verdict, Michael Kelly fled the United States to his native Ireland and the Diocese subsequently settled the case for $3.5 million.

A second lawsuit was filed against the Diocese of Stockton on November 7, 2012 alleging that Father Kelly sexually assaulted the plaintiff when he was 12 years old.  That case is pending.

John Manly, the attorney for Travis Trotter, said, "I once again call upon law enforcement to track Michael Kelly down and return him to California to answer for his horrible crimes against innocent children. I reiterate that the Diocese of Stockton must be held responsible for Father Kelly's crimes and its failure to protect the children in their parish."

ATTACHED: Copy of the civil complaint that was filed on behalf of Plaintiff JOHN MT DOE can be found here:


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