First, we want to thank the Orange County District Attorney's Office for working diligently over the past decade to ensure that Denis Lyons faced justice in the criminal courts. Despite numerous setbacks, prosecutors have never lost sight of the threat that Lyons has continually posed to children across the county.
Despite today's victory for children, we are still dismayed that church officials knew about Denis Lyons and his crimes for more than two decades.
Instead of calling law enforcement, they sent him to a church-run facility for child-molesting clerics, promoted him to pastor, and then sent him to a parish where he worked side-by-side with another known predator. This behavior is inexcusable and every church official who knew, whether they are still in Orange or in Boise, ID, MUST be called to account. The excuse of "it was a long time ago," is a slap in the face to victims everywhere.
Church officials had numerous opportunities to keep kids safe, but instead, they did little or nothing.
Many victims of sexual abuse suffer alone and in silence, but when brave victims report to law enforcement and prosecutors do everything in their power to ensure that justice is served, our children are safer.
If you have been abused, or seen or suspected abuse, please get help from support groups such as SNAP and call law enforcement, not church officials.