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Stockton Diocese subject of abuse lawsuits

 
Ross Farrow/San Joaquin News Service Thursday, 04 January 2007

LODI— Two new clergy abuse lawsuits against St. Anne’s Catholic Church andthe Stockton Diocese have been filed in San Joaquin County SuperiorCourt

One of the new lawsuits involves the Rev. Oliver O’Grady, aconvicted pedophile who served at St. Anne’s in the 1970s. The otheralleges that the late Rev. Murty Fahy sexually abused a girl in the1990s.

Fahy, a priest at St. Anne’s from 1985 until his death in2001, allegedly abused a girl an estimated 30 times while she was insecond through fifth grade at St. Anne’s Catholic School in Lodi. 

Accordingto the lawsuit, filed Dec. 18, Fahy would have the girl called out ofher classroom and sent to the confessional across the street at St.Anne’s Catholic Church. The victim, now almost 21, was identified onlyas “Jane AR Doe” in the lawsuit.

Fahy allegedly arranged theconfessional room so that he could see the girl face to face without adividing screen or curtain. He committed several sexual acts there andat other locations at St. Anne’s School, including the music room,according to the lawsuit, filed by Orange County attorney John Manly.

Fahytold the girl at different times that his sexual abuse came as a resultof penance or as a reward for good behavior, according to the lawsuit.The complaint also says that Fahy told her that his sexual acts happento bad people and to saints.

Stockton Diocese Bishop StephenBlaire announced the allegations in April, but the Lodi PoliceDepartment has closed its investigation of the case because it can’tprove Fahy committed any sexual molestations, Lt. Bill Barry saidTuesday.

Sister Terry Davis of the Stockton Diocese saidWednesday that diocese officials cannot comment on the Fahy or O’Gradycases because of pending litigation.

The lawsuit was filedagainst St. Anne’s Catholic Church, St. Anne’s School, the StocktonDiocese and the Oblates of Saint Francis De Sales — Toledo/DetroitProvince. The Oblates train and supervise priests, nuns and lay peoplethroughout the United States, according to the suit.

The O’Gradysuit, filed Dec. 22, alleges that he sexually abused a boy, identifiedonly as “John DHD Doe,” between the ages of 8 and 11 from 1973 to 1976.

O’Gradywas filmed in a documentary called “Deliver Us from Evil,” which wasreleased worldwide and played at the Lodi Stadium 12 for three weeksbeginning Nov. 3.

While the movie was being filmed, O’Grady sentthe plaintiff a letter confessing and apologizing for his sexual abuse,Manly said Wednesday. The memories of sexual abuse then came back tothe man after receiving the letter, Manly said.

O’Grady was apriest at St. Anne’s from 1971 to 1978. After serving at four otherparishes in the Stockton Diocese, O’Grady pleaded guilty in 1993 tofour counts of sexual abuse with children younger than 14 in CalaverasCounty. He was paroled from Mule Creek State Prison in Ione in late2000 and deported to his native Ireland a short time later.

Defendantsin the O’Grady case are St. Anne’s, the Stockton Diocese and theArchdiocese of Cashel and Emly in Thurles, Ireland, where O’Gradyattended seminary school before moving to California.

Plaintiffsin both cases are asking for damages to be determined at trial,including past and future lost earnings, court costs and attorney fees.

However,an Alameda County judge ruled that the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly,where O’Grady attended seminary in Ireland, was dropped as a defendant,saying it didn’t have jurisdiction in the case.

Manly said he will appeal the ruling to drop the Irish archdiocese.



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