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Op-Ed: Another priest is investigated for child abuse

By Gar Swaffar     May 3, 2012 in World
And the process goes on, and on and on. Another California Catholic priest is investigated for abusing the trust of his parishioners.
Father Michael Kelly served in parishes in Stockton, San Andreas, and Sonora, all of which are in California. It was, and is, alleged by Travis Trotter that Kelly sexually abused him when he was an altar boy in Stockton more than thirty years ago. Kelly was found guilty in a civil trial in that case last month. During the sentencing phase of the trial however, Kelly decided to leave the country and go back to Ireland, his native country. That departure prompted the Stockton Diocese to settle the claim to the tune of $3.75 million.
The Diocese had reportedly urged Kelly to return for the final portion of the trial, but Kelly plead illness and a desire to be near family.
Now a new allegation has been made by yet another possible victim from the St Andrews parish in San Andreas has surfaced. The 21 year old alleged victim is not identified at this time.
Kelly in the meantime has been in touch with his former parishioners by email to opine on his innocence, stating; “All I can say, in conclusion, is I am innocent, truly innocent,”
Kelly was reported by the Union Democrat as having been tested for six different medical conditions while in Ireland.
The newest plaintiff's attorney John Manly has stated; “Our goal at this point is to get Father Kelly extradited and face justice in Calaveras County,”
The issue of rural Calaveras County being able or unable to afford the extradition may not have occurred to the attorney, but is certain to come up.
And with that background, comes the real question: When will the Catholic Church, and the priests, who have practiced child abuse, and child molestation, for who knows how many decades or centuries finally wake up and realize that it will absolutely not remain hidden?
It seems that the Catholic Church has information on the abusive priests they've been shuffling from parish to parish all this time. Still though, there has yet to be a proactive approach to doing precisely what they are, in theory, teaching. Namely, bringing the sins of the flesh to light so as to eliminate further sin.
In all fairness, while a Christian, I am not a Catholic and perhaps that makes it easier to point the finger of blame, but even from a standpoint of simple damage control or customer relations management, this approach of simple denial isn't working. The state of denial doesn't appear to work any better than the choice of holding their priests to a condition of theoretical celibacy.
And while purging the ranks of all the pedophiles might create a priest shortage in the short term, it would seem to be a move which is occurring at the speed of glaciers retreating anyway. the truth will come out, and it seems only to be matter of time before all of the miscreant priests are outed and held accountable.
Will the Catholic Church ever come to recognize that fact? It seems unlikely, at least for now.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Catholic Church, Catholic priest, Child abuse, Stockton, California
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