Priest Found Liable for Abuse Flees Country
A Central Valley Catholic priest found liable in a civil trial for the molestation of an altar boy has fled the country in the midst of the trial, the Diocese of Stockton said.
Michael Kelly said he was having health problems from the stress of the trial and had returned to his native Ireland, according to a letter the diocese said it received from him on Monday.
“I have sat back and listened to the vicious false allegations that have been spread about me for the past 4 1/2 years, and my health has suffered greatly because of it,” Kelly said in the letter.
The diocese has since tried to contact Kelly by phone and email to ask him to return, but has not been able to get in touch with him, said Terry Davis, a spokeswoman for the diocese.
A civil jury found Kelly liable earlier this month for three counts related to child abuse, according to The Record of Stockton (bit.ly). The case stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the alleged victim, now 37, who said Kelly abused him in the 1980s when Kelly was a priest at Cathedral of Annunciation in Stockton. Kelly was removed from the ministry following the jury’s decision.