|Assignment Record– Rev. Michael E. Kelly
Summary of Case: Michael E. Kelly was born in Dublin, and raised in Tipperary in southern Ireland. He was ordained in Ireland June 9, 1973 and went directly to serve in Stockton, CA. He was removed from ministry in September 2007, after an accusation surfaced that he had sexually abused a boy between 1984 and 1986. He was reinstated in March 2008, after the Diocesan Review Board could not substantiate the accusation. Another young man came forward in September 2011 to accuse Kelly of having sexually abused him at age 10, between 2000-2002. The case became the focus of a criminal investigation. Kelly denied the allegations and was allowed to remain in active ministry. A civil trial related to the first accusation resulted in Kelly being held liable for child molestation April 7, 2012. He was removed from ministry, although he and the diocese maintained his innocence. Kelly fled to Ireland April 15, 2012, just before he was scheduled to testify in a second phase of the civil trial, which focused on the diocese's handling of his case. The diocese settled with Kelly's accuser. In a September 2012 lawsuit, Kelly was accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old altar boy in the early 2000s. In November 2012, a third lawsuit was filed by a 22-year-old man who accused Kelly of sexual abuse, including sodomy, in 2000 when he was a 10-year-old altar boy. Kelly was indicted by a CA grand jury and an extradition warrant for his arrest in Ireland and deportation to the U.S. The charges were dropped in 2016 when the 26-year-old alleged victim died. Kelly remained wanted on unlawful flight charges and, as of January 2017, he may have been arrested in Morocco.
Stockton bishop was Merlin Joseph Guilfoyle (1969-1979).
|9/23/79||Our Lady of Fatima||Modesto||CA||2/3, 2/2, 3/3||Our Lady of Fatima had a school with 295-322 students.|
|Modesto Youth Soccer Association||Modesto||CA||Kelly helped organized this youth organization in the 1970s.|
Roger Michael Mahony succeeded Guilfoyle (1980-1985) followed by Donald William Montrose (1985-1999).
• A Tracy man informed the diocese in the early 2000s that Kelly tickled and rough-housed him as a child in 1979. The man had a son in a Tracy parochial school in the early 2000s and asked the diocese to keep Kelly away from his young son.
|CA||3/4, 2/3, 2/4||St. Bernard's had a school with 232-251 students.|
Donald William Montrose replaced Mahony (1985-1999).
|6/30/87||Cathedral of the Annunciation||
• Kelly was accused in October 2007 of having sexually abused a 10 to 12- year-old boy sometime between 1984 and 1986. The abuse is said to have occurred at the boy's home, while Kelly babysat the boy and his sister. In a lawsuit filed in 2008, Kelly is said to have rubbed to boy's back, shoulders, chest and stomach, tickled him in a sexual manner, talked with him about sex, walked in front of the boy naked, given the boy a bath, hugged him in a sexual way, and sexually abused and molested him. The abuse is said to have included sodomy. Kelly's accuser testified in 2012 that Kelly took him on a hike in a secluded area, made him kneel down and said, "when men love each other, this is what they do." He testified, too, that no matter how much he screamed, Kelly wouldn't stop. Kelly babysat for the family between 1982-1985, when the boy was 7 to 11 years old. The boy was an altar boy and student at Annunciation school. Kelly denied the allegations.
The Cathedral had a school with 266 students.
According to his attorney, Kelly's accuser was on active service in the military when the allegations were brought to the diocese. He'd had a successful career as a U.S. Air Force pilot, but had to step down because of severe depression caused by memories of the abuse.
This case went to civil trial in February 2012. One witness, an Annunciation parishioner, testified that his family had invited Kelly to dinner in the 1980s, but they took him outside and asked him to leave after seeing him bouncing children on his lap. The witness said the priest was observed lying on his back and bouncing the children on his genital area. He said he told the monsignor about the incident a few weeks later. Another witness testified that when he was a boy, Kelly grabbed his thigh and touched him in the groin while having him do stretching exercises while he (the boy) was wearing Speedo swim trunks. This is said to have happened in the boy's bedroom.
|7/1/87||3/4/97||St. Patrick's||Sonora||CA||1/1, 1/2||St. Patrick's had a religious education program with 218-250 students.|
|7/1/87||3/4/97||Our Lady of Mt. Carmel||Big Oak||CA||This was a mission of St. Patrick's in Sonora.|
|7/1/87||3/4/97||St. Anne's||Columbia||CA||This was a mission of St. Patrick's in Sonora.|
Montrose was replaced as Stockton bishop by Stephen Edward Blaire (1999-).
|1/30/00||Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary||Stockton||CA||1/2||Presentation of the B.V.M. had a school with 305-307 students, and a religious education program with 730-
In 1999 church documents show that parishioners had expressed unspecified concerns about Kelly, including the way he related to a four year-old child. Kelly asked for and was granted leave.
Kelly was sent for three psychiatric evaluations in the early 2000s, after a man reported to the diocese he's been "tickled and rough- housed" by Kelly as a child in 1979. The evaluations showed that Kelly had "pedophilic traits", but were inconclusive. The man asked the diocese to keep Kelly away from his young son who was in a Tracy parochial school.
Kelly was sent to St. John Vianney Center in Philadelphia, which is a mental health facility for priests and religious, and later to a Canadian facility for six months of treatment.
• Kelly was accused in a September 2011 lawsuit of having sexually abused a 10 year-old boy between late 2000 and 2002. The boy was a St. Andrew's altar server. Kelly denied the allegations. A criminal investigation ensued.
• Kelly was accused in a September 2012 lawsuit of sexually abusing another St. Andrew's altar boy in the early 2000s. According to the lawsuit, Kelly would show up unannounced at the 12 year-old boy's home, often when his parents were not there, and molest him in his bedroom. The boy is said to have attempted suicide after the abuse.
|CA||1/1||St. Andrew's had a religious education program with 149-138 students.|
|9/3/00||8/1/02||St. Thomas Aquinas||
• In a November 2012 lawsuit Kelly was accused of sexually abusing a 10-year-old altar boy at this parish in 2000. The accusations include sodomy.
|CA||This was a mission of St. Andrew's in San Andreas.|
|9/3/00||8/1/02||Our Lady of Fatima||West Point||CA||This was a mission of St. Andrew's in San Andreas.|
|8/02||9/23/03||On Leave||West Point||CA||Kelly is not indexed, nor is he listed in the Stockton diocesan pages of the 2003 Directory.|
|2003?||2004?||St. Jude's||Ceres||CA||Kelly is not listed as at St. Jude's in the 2004 Directory. In fact, he is not indexed or listed at all in the Stockton diocesan pages of the 2004 Directory.
This assignment is per news reports.
|2004||2012||St. Joachim||Lockeford||CA||1/2, 1/1||
St. Joachim's had a religious education program with 90-175 students.
Kelly was reinstated in March 2008 after the Diocesan Review Board could not substantiate the claim of child sexual abuse against him. At an April 2012 civil trial, it was revealed that the review board had discussed Kelly six or eight times prior to the 2007, due to complaints from parents about his behavior with children.
After a second young man surfaced in Sept. 2011 with claims that Kelly sexually abused him as a 10-year-old between 2000-2002, Kelly was allowed to remain in ministry.
|2004||2012||Diocesan Personnel Board||Stockton||CA|
|2010||2012||Dean of Deanery 3
|2010||2012||Members at Large||Stockton||CA||
A civil trial in March 2012 resulted in Kelly being held liable for molesting the former Cathedral of the Annunciation altar boy who came forward with allegations in 2007. Kelly was removed from ministry after the verdict April 7, 2012. He continued to deny his guilt after the verdict, and vowed to "keep fighting". His parishioners rallied in support of him, calling him a "martyr".
The diocese settled with the victim April 20, 2012.
Another accuser filed suit in Sept. 2012.
Kelly was indicted in January 2014 in CA by a criminal grand jury on three counts of lewd and lascivious conduct on a 10-year-old child and one count of oral copulation with a child. An extradition warrant was issued for his arrest in Ireland and deportation to the U.S. The D.A. dropped the charges in 2016 after the 26-year-old alleged victim died.
The Stockton Diocese filed for bankruptcy in 2014.
As of January 2017 Kelly remained wanted for unlawful flight by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of CA. He may have been arrested by federal authorities in Morocco.
Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1974-2011)
• Lockeford Priest Accused of Abuse, Stockton Record, October 11, 2007
in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's
place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest
listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor)
and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4
means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample
page from the Directory.
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