Stockton Diocese accused of cover-up in Michael Kelly case

Now that Father Michael Kelly has been held liable for sexual assault and removed as pastor of a Lockeford parish, his civil trial will focus on the Stockton Diocese's role in handling Kelly and other priests accused of childhood sexual abuse.

"The diocese made a concerted effort to cover up for Father Kelly," attorney John Manly told the jury in his opening statement on Thursday morning. "They value money, power and their reputation more than they do children. Ladies and gentlemen, that has got to stop."

The 10-woman, two-man jury found Kelly, 62, liable on Friday of sexually assaulting an altar boy in the mid-1980s. The plaintiff, now a 37-year-old man from the Marin County community of Fairfax, is on medical leave from his position as a pilot for Southwest Airlines. Kelly doesn't face criminal charges because the statute of limitations has expired.

The plaintiff's name has been withheld by court order because he is a sexual assault victim. H...

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