A documentary about former Lodi Priest Oliver O'Grady's life as a pedophile will open in downtown Lodi beginning Oct. 27.
Lionsgate Entertainment will show the movie, "Deliver Us From Evil," at Lodi Stadium 12 beginning Oct. 27, according to Deirdre Kennedy, a publicist working for Lionsgate Entertainment.
The film, which debuted in June at the Los Angeles Film Festival, features film director Amy Berg's interview with O'Grady, the former priest at St. Anne's Catholic Church, who has lived in his native Ireland since being deported in 2000.
"Deliver Us From Evil" will debut in Los Angeles and New York on Oct. 13, and it will be shown at the Mill Valley Film Festival on Oct. 14-15.
On Oct. 27, the movie will debut throughout the country. In addition to Lodi, the movie is planned for San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto and San Jose, Kennedy said.
According to the film's Web site, O'Grady discusses in graphic terms his years of sexually abusing children in the movie.
In addition to O'Grady being filmed on camera, the movie includes comments by Cardinal Roger Mahony from a deposition he gave in 2004 about what knowledge he had of O'Grady's conduct.
O'Grady was a priest at St. Anne's Catholic Church in Lodi from 1971 to 1978. He then served at parishes in Stockton, Turlock, Hughson and San Andreas before being arrested for sexual molestation in Calaveras County.
He served seven years at Mule Creek State Prison in Ione after pleading guilty in 1993 to four counts of sexual abuse with children under 14 in San Andreas. He was deported shortly after being released from prison on parole.
In addition, the Stockton Diocese has settled several lawsuits involving O'Grady. Two cases dismissed in 2004 have been appealed, according to Paul Balestracci, the diocese's attorney.
Mahony, now cardinal of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, was bishop of the Stockton Diocese from 1980 to 1985, while O'Grady served as a priest in the diocese. Critics accuse Mahony of moving O'Grady from parish to parish rather than dealing with his sexual problems during the years Mahony headed the Stockton Diocese.
Two of O'Grady's victims, Ann Jyono and Nancy Sloan, also recall on camera their experiences with O'Grady.
Sloan, who lives in Fairfield, saw the movie at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June, but declined to comment. But Sloan's friend, Krystal Shaw of West Sacramento, didn't mind weighing in on the film.
"It was very hard to watch," Shaw said. "It is extremely important for people to see. I was impressed how the audience, everyone there, got it."
Shaw, who was sexually abused by an Assembly of God pastor in West Sacramento when she was 15, said she accompanied Sloan to the Los Angeles Film Festival to lend emotional support for her friend.
"What I find more alarming (than O'Grady's candor) is that the church is still denying everything. It's all right there," Shaw said.
But a deacon and two parishioners at St. Anne's thought the film is gossipy and reflects on ancient history. None of them had seen "Deliver Us From Evil," and they don't know anyone from the church who has.
Where to see Oliver O'Grady filmThose who want to see "Deliver Us From Evil" before its Oct. 27 debut in Lodi may see it Oct. 14-15 at the Mill Valley Film Festival in Marin County. Show times are at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Sequoia Theater, 25 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, and at 1 p.m. the following day at the Christopher B. Smith San Rafael Film Center, 1118 Fourth St., San Rafael.
Tickets are $10. For more information, call (415) 383-5256.
Source: Mill Valley Film Festival.
"I am surprised that the film industry doesn't have higher moral standards and be more responsible for some of the things they produce," said longtime parishioner Janice Roth.
Parishioner Nick Felten knew O'Grady in the 1970s. He said he would not defend O'Grady's sexual misconduct, but he sees no point in O'Grady being profiled in a film.
"He certainly was guilty, obviously," Felten said. "But to bring it up and make a big deal about something that happened in the past …
"It's like gossip," Felten said. "It's something that should be forgotten. What's done is done."
St. Anne's Deacon Don Bo added, "It's a pure money-making deal.
"I don't think they have any kind of a social justice campaign or reason to be doing this at all."
Bo said O'Grady's legacy has been repeated over and over. St. Anne's is "only peripherally involved," he said, because the sexual abuse took place some 30 years ago.
Sister Barbara Thiella, victim assistance coordinator for the Sacramento Diocese, said she doesn't know anyone from the diocese who has seen "Deliver Us From Evil."
"I continue to deeply regret the pain and suffering of individuals, their families and the larger community," Thiella said. "The church continues to offer its deep apology to anyone who's been hurt. We continue to invite anyone to come forward and call the diocese."
But Thiella wondered if the movie will be beneficial.
"Do you think continuing to bring this (O'Grady issue) up will continue to bring healing?"
First published: Wednesday, October 4, 2006