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Defense questions plaintiff about inconsistencies in clergy abuse trial

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Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 6:06 pm | Updated: 5:57 am, Thu Mar 15, 2012.

The plaintiff in the Michael Kelly civil trial, who said in previous testimony that he was sexually assaulted and fondled while he was in fifth grade in the 1980s, testified on Wednesday that he wasn’t sure in what grade some of the alleged incidents took place.

The former Stockton altar boy also refuted statements by clinical psychologist Amy Charney, who testified on Tuesday that the plaintiff told her that Kelly sexually assaulted him in fourth grade.

During cross examination, Stockton Diocese attorney Jim Goodman showed videotapes of two depositions the plaintiff gave in 2009 in an effort to show inconsistencies between what the plaintiff said during those depositions and what he said on the witness stand Wednesday and last Friday.

Not every incident may have happened in fifth grade, the plaintiff said Wednesday. Some of the incidents may have taken place as late as seventh or eighth grade.

The plaintiff, whose name is being withheld by court order because he says he is a sexual assault victim, is suing Kelly and the Stockton Diocese, saying that Kelly sexually assaulted him at least once in the 1980s when the plaintiff was a student at Annunciation School in Stockton.

Kelly, 62, has been pastor of St. Joachim’s Catholic Church in Lockeford for the past eight years.

The plaintiff previously testified that Kelly sexually assaulted him on a trail outside Stockton in the 1980s and that Kelly took him to a motel room in Stockton. He also said Kelly may have abused him in Kelly’s living quarters at the rectory of Cathedral of the Annunciation. Kelly has never been criminally charged regarding the allegations.

Earlier Wednesday, the plaintiff testified about being treated for depression. He is on medical leave from his job with Southwest Airlines because the Federal Aviation Administration bans pilots from flying if they are being treated with certain medications.

Cross examination will continue at 10 a.m. today at San Joaquin County Superior Court, 222 E. Weber Ave., Department 42, fourth floor, Stockton. Tentative plans call for Kelly to take the stand on Friday.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • Ross Farrow posted at 9:02 pm on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    Ross Farrow Posts: 104

    There will be two experts refuting the validity of repressed memory when the defense presents its case. Probably next week. Stay tuned....

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:08 pm on Wed, Mar 14, 2012.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    False memory syndrome refers to a condition in which an individual experiences a false but strongly believed memory of a traumatic experience.

    There have been numerous sensational law cases based on recovered memories. One example is the famous case of Beth Rutherford, who "recovered" a memory, under her therapist's guidance, that she had been regularly raped by her father as a child, and that he twice impregnated her and forced her to abort the fetus with a coat hanger. She sued her father, who eventually had to resign his job as a clergyman over the allegations. Later, medical examination confirmed that Rutherford was actually a virgin who had never been pregnant: her recovered memories of rape and abortion were actually false (see Loftus, 1997).




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