Diocese faces new abuse suit

Record, California/December 20, 2007

Stockton -- A new lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Stockton alleges that former priest Oliver O'Grady sexually abused another child while serving in Lodi in the 1970s.

A 43-year-old female plaintiff filed the suit anonymously, claiming she was a student of O'Grady's at St. Anne's parish school in the early to mid-'70s when the abuse took place.

It is one of many such suits against O'Grady, who served prison time for child molestation and then became the subject of an award-winning documentary about his crimes.

O'Grady was convicted in 1993 of molesting two boys, served seven years in Ione's Mule Creek State Prison and was deported to Ireland in 2000. He disappeared after the documentary, "Deliver Us from Evil," came out in theaters, according to reports by U.S. and Irish newspapers.

A year ago, a 42-year-old man and a 32-year-old woman each filed lawsuits alleging abuse by the defrocked priest. Both suits were dismissed and are being appealed, said attorney M. Ryan DiMaria of Newport Beach law firm Manly, McGuire and Stewart, which has represented many plaintiffs in clergy abuse cases, including the one that sent O'Grady to prison.

Manly, McGuire and Stewart is not representing this new case, but DiMaria said the Diocese of Stockton can expect more victims to press charges.

"They've known that O'Grady was a prolific molester since the beginning of his priesthood, so it doesn't surprise me that there's another victim coming forward," he said.

The suits brought against the diocese regarding O'Grady have been "too many to even count," said diocese spokeswoman Sister Terry Davis.

In 2004, Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire issued an apology for the actions of 10 priests who had brought 29 counts of sexual abuse to the diocese since its founding in 1962.

Last month, a 21-year-old female plaintiff dropped her case against the diocese that claimed the late Lodi priest Murty Fahy abused her for three years beginning when she was in the second grade at St. Anne's in Lodi.

In October, The Record reported the diocese placed Lockeford priest Michael Kelly on administrative leave after allegations surfaced that he'd sexually abused a boy in a Stockton parish in the 1980s.

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