A lawsuit alleges that in the 1980s, Father Michael Kelly, the parish priest in Lockeford, abused a young boy who is now serving with the U.S. military.
The suit filed in San Joaquin County Superior Court on Wednesday alleges the abuse began when the boy was 7 and lasted until he was 11 during a period from 1982 to 1985. It alleges that Kelly was a priest at Stockton's Cathedral of the Annunciation at the time.
The Stockton Diocese reinstated Kelly to his post in Lockeford after a diocese investigation found no evidence of the alleged abuse.
A call to the diocese's communications staff was not immediately returned Friday.
Vince Finaldi, an attorney with the firm that filed the lawsuit - Newport Beach based Manly and Stewart - said it was "reprehensible" that the church would allow Kelly to rejoin his parish.
"We're just dumbfounded why the diocese and specifically the bishop, Stephen Blaire, would reinstate this person without a full investigation," Finaldi said in a phone interview Friday.
Finaldi said the diocese never contacted his law firm in their investigation or the plaintiff.
The diocese placed Kelly on paid administrative leave in October 2007 after it learned of the abuse allegations.
On March 14, Bishop Blaire released a statement saying the matter was "investigated as thoroughly as possible" and no evidence of abuse could be found.
Blaire said the diocese did try to speak to the plaintiff as well as a third party that initially brought the abuse complaints to the diocese's attention.
Kelly has since been saying mass at St. Joachim Catholic Church in Lockeford.
Blaire's statement also said that the diocese received hundreds of letters in support for Kelly.
Finaldi said while Kelly was at the Cathedral of the Annunciation Parish in Stockton he befriended the parents of the alleged victim. The parents let Kelly baby-sit their child and that's when the abuse took place.
The alleged abuse ranged from groping to sodomy.
Because of the alleged abuse, the plaintiff claims he is suffering from intense psychological and emotional problems and has hard time trusting anyone.
The suit seeks unspecified damages.