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Lockeford priest Michael Kelly accused of second case of sexual misconduct

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Michael Kelly

Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 6:53 pm | Updated: 10:48 am, Wed Jan 30, 2013.

Father Michael Kelly, who serves at St. Joachim’s Catholic Church in Lockeford, has been accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy from 2000 to 2002, according to an Orange County attorney investigating the case.

Kelly, a popular priest at St. Joachim’s since 2004, will remain an active priest as the Stockton Diocese investigates the matter, according to a statement released late Tuesday afternoon by Bishop Stephen Blaire.

The case has been referred to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department, Blaire said. No one at the Sheriff’s Department was available for comment on Tuesday.

Kelly allegedly abused the boy from late 2000 through 2002, when Kelly was a priest at St. Andrew’s Parish in San Andreas, according to Rebecca Rhoades, an attorney with the Manly & Stewart law firm in Newport Beach. Attorneys interviewed the man, now 21, last Thursday about Kelly, Rhoades said.

Contacted by phone, Kelly vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

“(The allegations are) 100 percent completely and utterly false,” Kelly said. “I intend to fight it to the end, regardless of what it takes.”

Blaire said he learned of the allegations after the diocese attorney received a letter from John Manly, of Manly & Stewart, reporting issues regarding Kelly.

Rhoades said she is arranging for a meeting between Sheriff’s investigators and the man who reported the alleged abuse.

The allegations revealed by the diocese on Tuesday are not the first against Kelly. A man now in his 30s filed a civil suit against Kelly and the diocese in 2008 regarding alleged sexual abuse in the 1980s, when Kelly was a priest at Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton. That case remains pending.

The organization called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests issued a statement Tuesday.

“We are saddened and disturbed that it took another brave victim to share his pain and abuse for Stockton Catholic officials to finally protect kids from Father Michael Kelly,” said an email by Joelle Casteix, the group’s western regional director.

“We urge law enforcement to vigorously investigate and punish church employees who hurt kids or put them at risk,” Casteix said. “If you have any information about child abuse by Father Kelly or any adult, please contact law enforcement and support groups like ours, not church officials.”

The Stockton Diocese can be reached at 209-466-0636. For information about SNAP, visit www.snapnetwork.org.

Born in Tipperary, Ireland, Kelly was ordained there in 1973. Since Ireland had more than enough priests and the Stockton Diocese didn’t, he chose California sight unseen.

He was a priest at Catholic churches for 10 years in Sonora, three years in Stockton, two years in San Andreas and one year in Ceres before being assigned to St. Joachim’s in Lockeford in 2004.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • Kim Lee posted at 10:59 pm on Wed, Sep 28, 2011.

    Kim Lee Posts: 1798

    Denise Warmerdam: I understand that Fr. Kelly is your dear friend. Children need to be protected from sexual abuse. Since Fr. Kelly is again being accused of sexual abuse then it is in the best interest of the children to make sure Fr. Kelly is not allowed to be anywhere near them right now. It is the right thing to do and I hope the church will do the right thing this time.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 5:06 pm on Wed, Sep 28, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Thanks Dave... This is what I suspected... you confirmed it...

    SNAP listed total revenue of $473,232 in 2007, yet the organization listed only a measly $593 going to "survivor support"! That paltry number represents a minuscule .0013 (or 0.13%) of its total revenue for that year. (By the way, some years there is no listing for "survivor support" at all!)

    It sure seems that SNAP provides very, very little concrete support to abuse victims.

  • Dave Pierre posted at 2:47 pm on Wed, Sep 28, 2011.

    DPierre Posts: 18

    The time has come for the public to learn the TRUTH about Joelle Casteix and SNAP:

    ... and the shifty and shady attorney John Manly:



  • Kim Lee posted at 11:29 pm on Tue, Sep 27, 2011.

    Kim Lee Posts: 1798

    Here we go again.

  • Joelle Casteix posted at 9:22 pm on Tue, Sep 27, 2011.

    Joelle Casteix Posts: 2

    We are saddened and disturbed to learn that despite a second allegation of abuse by Fr. Michael Kelly, Stockton Diocese officials still refuse to remove him from active ministry with children and families. Despite years of telling Catholics about child safety "reforms," Stockton Bishop Blaire still cannot do the one easy and simple thing to keep kids safe. Our biggest fear is for the children who may have been put at direct risk of abuse after Kelly was reinstated into active ministry in 2008, despite the first credible child sex abuse allegation against him. We urge law enforcement to vigorously investigate and punish church employees who hurt kids or put them at risk.

    If you have any information about child abuse by Fr. Kelly or any adult, please contact law enforcement and support groups like ours, NOT church officials.

    We also urge Stockton Catholics to demand that Bishop Blaire adhere to his own child safety policies and the policies of his fellow bishops and immediately remove Kelly from active ministry until law enforcement can investigate the latest allegations.

    Joelle Casteix
    SNAP Western Regional Director
    jcasteix(at) gmail.com
    SNAPnetwork(dot) org

  • Denise Warmerdam posted at 8:33 pm on Tue, Sep 27, 2011.

    Denise Warmerdam Posts: 5

    Ross - just to clarify. The civil suit against Fr. Kelly is still pending - set to go to court in the next few months. For four years after this first allegation, NO ONE else stepped forward until now - coincidentally right before the case is set for trial. Fr. Kelly withstood a full criminal investigation previously - and no shred of evidence was found supporting this claim. Unfortunately, he is having to endure this once again. While the Church needs to make amends for past transgressions, we also need to stand up for those that are innocent! I am proud to call Fr. Kelly a dear friend and my prayers and support are with him!



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