Another sexual abuse lawsuit was filed Wednesday against Oliver O'Grady, a Catholic priest who served at churches in the area and spent seven years in prison for abusing children.
But this lawsuit also named Cardinal Richard Mahony, now a high-ranking member of the church, who was bishop in Stockton when O'Grady worked in the area.
The Los Angeles Archdiocese hadn't seen the lawsuit Wednesday and didn't comment specifically on the case, but spokesman Tod Tamberg said Newport Beach attorney John Manly's claims about the Cardinal are "rubbish."
He also said that Manly "has a long and rich and deep personal grudge against Cardinal Mahony."
The lawsuit was filed by a man listed only as "John JK Doe" who is now in his mid-30s, said Manly. When the alleged victim was between the ages of 6 and 8, the suit claims, O'Grady molested the boy at a Stockton Catholic school.
O'Grady was the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, "Deliver Us From Evil," which included interviews with a Lodi victim. After serving his prison sentence, O'Grady was deported to his native Ireland, where Manly said he was last living near schools.
"Him roaming free, getting a retirement from the Diocese of Stockton, is not justice," Manly said at a press conference Wednesday.
Parties named in the lawsuit
- Roman Catholic Diocese of Stockton
- Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel & Emily, in
- St. Anne's Roman Catholic Parish in Lodi, where Oliver O'Grady
served for a time
- Presentation Roman Catholic Parish in Stockton, where the
victim alleges O'Grady assaulted him
- Cardinal Roger Mahony
- Former priest O'Grady
Source: Law offices of Manly & Steward, who filed the lawsuit
The Catholic church has been the target of numerous lawsuits, many of which have settled. An earlier San Joaquin County lawsuit went to a jury trial and the victim was awarded $30 million.
The new lawsuit alleges that the church leaders knew of the various allegations against O'Grady but did nothing to protect children, including the legal obligation to report possible child abuse to law enforcement.
The lawsuit asks for unspecified monetary damages, and Manly said the goal is to force the church to acknowledge that more priests are under investigation, whether on its own or through punitive damages.
"It's my hope we put them into bankruptcy," Manly said.
Wednesday's 45-page suit claims that between 1983 and 1985, Mahony, then bishop in Stockton, "concealed from the public the fact that (O'Grady) was a molester, and did so because of his desire to become a high-ranking archbishop within the Roman Catholic Church."
Mahony did move up the ranks and is now one of nine cardinals in the entire United States.
A number of records dating back three decades reveal that church officials knew O'Grady was being accused of molesting children, the suit says. At one point, in 1976 O'Grady himself wrote a letter to his superiors, apologizing for such an act.
Seven years later, he allegedly started abusing the plaintiff who filed the lawsuit. O'Grady started by giving the plaintiff a tour of the school he attended.
That boy is now a father in his mid-30s. Last spring, he was going through some psychological and emotional issues and began to realize that his troubles were rooted in the abuse from 25 years earlier, the suit says.