LOCKEFORD (CBS13) — A San Joaquin County priest is facing accusations of molesting young boys, but members of a priest abuse support group say officials at the diocese are dragging their heels.
Father Michael Kelly is facing a civil case next month for a 2007 allegation that he molested a 10-year-old boy in the mid-1980s, and a second alleged victim has come forward with claims that Kelly brutally abused him between 2000 and 2002.
Father Kelly, the active priest at the St. Joachim Church, was put on administrative leave after the first accusation but was reinstated after an independent investigator hired by the archdiocese cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Bishop Stephen Blaire issued a statement on the second allegation, saying, “We will continue to cooperate with law enforcement. We are also seeking to obtain the facts behind this new accusation. In the meantime, Father Kelly’s status as an active priest remains unchanged while we investigate the matter.”
The second victim was also 10 years old when the alleged acts began. A judge has sealed details of the more recent accusation, but both of the victims tell similar stories: Kelly allegedly befriended the families and then molested the boys in their own homes.
Members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests protested Bishop Blaire’s decision Wednesday, saying the bishop is doing nothing about the allegations.
“Bishop Blaire is defying his own policies, he’s defying policies of his brother bishops, and he’s recklessly putting Stockton-area children at risk,” said Joelle Casteix.
The attorney for the second alleged victim said he was not at liberty to release many details other than the police are involved in the investigation.