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New child sex claims made against ex-priest

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POSTED September 12, 2012 10:08 p.m.


STOCKTON (AP) — New child sex allegations have been made against a former California priest in a lawsuit filed just months after a jury found him liable for molesting an altar boy.

The latest case filed Tuesday in San Joaquin County claims Michael Kelly sexually abused a 12-year-old boy in the early 2000s when Kelly was a priest at St. Andrews Church in San Andreas.

The lawsuit alleges the boy had served as an altar boy when Kelly repeatedly came to his house unannounced and assaulted him. It seeks unspecified damages, stating the boy had attempted suicide after the abuse.

Five months ago, a civil jury found Kelly liable for the molestation of another altar boy when Kelly was a priest at Cathedral of Annunciation in Stockton in the 1980s. The Catholic Diocese of Stockton paid nearly $4 million as part of the suit.

Kelly was removed from the ministry and has since gone to his native Ireland, citing health problems. Diocese spokeswoman Terry Davis said the bishop has been in contact with Kelly, but did not know if the priest plans to return to the U.S.

Thomas Beatty, an attorney who represented Kelly in the trial, said the plaintiff in the new lawsuit was excluded as a witness in the previous case for a variety of reasons. He says sexual abuse claims against Kelly in the Stockton case were based on discredited repressed memory theories.

Beatty said he has not been asked to represent Kelly in the current case. Kelly could not be reached for comment.

The latest lawsuit also names the Stockton diocese, which includes St. Andrews Church, the bishop and monsignor as defendants, alleging they failed to warn parents about past sexual abuse allegations against the priest. The lawsuit also claims that church officials failed to act when a psychologist warned them in 1999 to keep Kelly away from children.

Davis declined to comment on the new allegations because church officials have not reviewed the lawsuit.


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