California diocese to pay out $3.75 million in settlement for Irish priest

A $3,75 million settlement has been reached in the case of an Irish priest found liable in a civil case of child abuse in California.

A civil jury in Stockton, Southern California, found Fr. Michael Kelly, a Tipperary native, liable for molesting a young boy.

The Diocese of Stockton has now agreed to pay the victim and his legal representation $3.75 million.

“This 4 ½ years of litigation and 10-week trial has been the most difficult experience of my life, but I feel I have received justice today, not for me, but for that 10-year old boy who Fr. Kelly hurt so badly,” said the victim, now in his 30s, in a statement after the settlement was reached, according to FOX40 News.

Fr Michael Kelly departed to Ireland after a civil jury ruled that he had molested the boy. Because it is a civil case he did not break any law.

He wrote a letter to Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton after he left for Ireland.

In the letter he says: “By the time you read this letter I will be in Ireland with my family. I am sorry for any difficulty this may cause the Diocese, but my health can’t take it anymore.

“I have sat back and listened to the vicious false allegations that have been spread about me for the past 4½ years, and my health has suffered greatly because of it.

“I have spent the last 39 years of my life serving God and the people of the various parishes of the Diocese of Stockton. Now I have not only lost my ministry, but this whole thing has taken its toll on my very being.

“I have lost everything I have worked for because of these false allegations.”

Fr Kelly joined the Stockton diocese in 1973 after completing his seminary studies in Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

He has denied the allegations against him repeatedly and his defence team stated he had passed a lie detector test.