An international sexual abuse support group has followed the Michael Kelly trial since Travis Trotter brought his case forward more than four years ago.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.
Those in the network say this case could change how future cases involving repressed memories are decided.
"This is a major victory for victims, especially victims with repressed memories," said Joey Piscitelli, Northern California's regional director for the SNAP.
Tim Lennon, SNAP San Francisco director, issued a press release Friday applauding Trotter's bravery, stating, "He is the only reason that Father Michael Kelly will no longer be allowed to prey on innocent children in the Diocese of Stockton."
SNAP officials believe the Diocese of Stockton and Cardinal Roger Mahony owe the Stockton community an apology for not coming forward with information about abuse years ago, and for the "horrific" treatment of the victim.
"No amount of money can make up for the sexual abuse of a child. No amount of money can give the victim his lost childhood back. No amount of money can make up for the risk of abuse Kelly posed for years after allegations were first made against him," Lennon said in the release. "The Diocese of Stockton protected a predator who didn't care about the kids in his care."
Repressed memories are common among survivors who were abused during childhood, Piscitelli said.
"As children, the mind tries to protect the body by blacking out the experience for a while," he said.
Officials say the case was only settled because of the risk it would pose to bring Mahoney onto the witness stand. Mahony first ignored the subpoena to testify, but when he agreed, the case was settled for millions of dollars.
"It's worth so much in damage control for the diocese that this is a small figure," said Piscitelli.
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