Stockton diocese priest convicted of child molestation | Crime
STOCKTON, CA - The Diocese of Stockton has removed a priest from its ministry after he was found guilty of child sex charges in a civil trial Friday.
Father Michael Kelly, who served at St. Joachim's Catholic Church in Lockeford, was accused of molesting a former altar boy at the Cathedral of the Annunciation in Stockton in the mid-1980s.
Diocese Bishop Stephen E. Blair released the following statement regarding Kelly:
Today, a civil jury found in favor of the plaintiff in a case alleging sexual abuse by Fr. Michael Kelly in the 1980s. In light of this verdict, I have made the decision to remove Fr. Kelly from ministry, effective immediately.
The Diocese's decision to defend this case was based on a careful analysis of the information available and on a genuine belief that the accusations are not true. Our view of the evidence has not changed, and Fr. Kelly continues to deny the allegations against him. Nevertheless, it is my belief that the jury verdict must be respected, and I have taken action in accord with our Church's Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The Diocese of Stockton takes all accusations of sexual abuse with great seriousness. We have in place policies and procedures to help us get to an understanding of the truth, and we remain committed to creating and maintaining a safe environment for all our children and young adults.