A Calaveras County grand jury has indicted the Rev. Michael Kelly of the Stockton Diocese on several child-molestation counts. The county District Attorney’s Office, in a statement issued Monday, said it would seek to work with authorities to extradite Kelly from his native Ireland to face the charges.
The criminal grand jury indicted Kelly on three counts of lewd and lascivious conduct on a child and one count of oral copulation with a child.
Kelly, a longtime priest with the Stockton Diocese, fled to his native Ireland in April 2012 after a civil jury found him liable for sexual misconduct against a Marin man when he was a Stockton parish school student more than 25 years ago. He left on the eve of the second phase of the trial to determine damages.
He had served at Modesto, Sonora and Ceres parishes, among others. He has continually maintained his innocence, calling the accusations “vicious false allegations.” He said he had “lost everything” after serving 39 years with the diocese.
After the 2012 lawsuit was settled for $3.75 million, two other Kelly lawsuits were filed, one from an altar boy who said the abuse occurred while Kelly served at St. Andrew’s Church in San Andreas. Kelly has not been defrocked – he continues to hold the title of priest – but is no longer allowed to wear a priest’s collar or perform the sacraments.