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Another sexual abuse lawsuit filed against former priest Oliver O'Grady

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Posted: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 10:00 pm

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 Ireland
  • 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.

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  • posted at 2:10 am on Fri, Nov 21, 2008.


    I agree OTH

  • posted at 2:17 pm on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.


    That should have been Fawn. My bad. Sorry

  • posted at 2:16 pm on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.


    RawnWhat a shame that the church chose to bury this for so many years instead of the christians they claim to be.

  • posted at 2:15 pm on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.


    This suit against Mahony is long past due. I've wondered for a long time how he has managed to skate thru all the scandal.What's even more revolting are the priests that were sent by the church to Mexico that continued to molest children and in some cases father children by some of their victims.Perhaps the Catholic Church should be more concerned about pedophile priests than whomever their flock vote for.

  • posted at 2:12 pm on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.


    "It's my hope we put them into bankruptcy," Manly said.Isn't nice to see Orange County attorneys serving us so well? Maybe he can donate some of his 40% to a church that actually promotes goodwill. What a shame these molesters have cost the Church so much heartache and money.

  • posted at 2:07 pm on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.


    Rhodie, the excommunication is a given. How could a Priest be able to do his job if he were unable, as a registered sex offender, to be in the proximity of children. The fact that those in charge would not only cover for, but expose children to a pedophile due to a labor shortage is unexcusable. Mahony should be charged not only with being an accessory, but with aiding and abetting a criminal act. As far as married Priests, I think it's idiotic to not allow marrying for priests. The whole thing started with the Roman belief that a man should abstain the night before a sporting event or battle. Priests started doing the same the night before mass. The message derived from that practice was that marriage and sexuality were no longer holy. Time for a little enlightenment.

  • posted at 6:31 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.


    Cognito, Prison is the what the secular law should perscribe. The excommunication and others I mention is for after they get out.I don't know if it would help but many Catholics are now starting to think that married preists should be allowed. It would increase the ##'s of priests and eliminate the "if we turn him in we won't have anyone" mentality that I think may have led to many of the criminal priests being being moved rather than dealt with.

  • posted at 3:16 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.


    Rhodie, prison is the only true justice in this matter. These men are criminal child predators and should be treated the same as all others.

  • posted at 3:12 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.


    My only question about the lawsuit is why go after a Church (St. Anne's) when that was not where the abuse accured? Did the victim atend this church at the same time as the priest or was itt eh home parish for the victim when it occured? Everything in the article says this happened at locations in Stockton so why go after St. Anne's?And I agree that any priest proven to have molested anyone should be excommunicated from the church, lose retirement benifits and do serious jail time. Officials who covered it up through neglect or deliberate actions should also be severely punished by the church depending on the extent of action taken from loss of advancements (knocked back down to "priest" level), jail if their actions were criminal and even excommunication with loss of retirement benifits.It isn't until the church enforces strict and harsh laws that the "protect our own" mentality will stop.

  • posted at 1:57 am on Thu, Nov 20, 2008.


    I'm glad to see this happen. Mahony should be living the rest of his days in prison for not only hiding and protecting these criminals from the law, but also for what amounted to pimping off innocent children for these guys to predate. How many innocent lives were ruined over the years? I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't more Priests burning in Hell than Lawyers.



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