Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fr. Kelly saga continues

Two weeks ago I wrote a column basking in the apparent exoneration of my friend Fr. Michael Kelly, a former priest in Tracy who was accused of abuse. I might have been premature in thinking his troubles were over.

It became clear the saga will continue when the news broke that Fr. Kelly's accuser was filing a lawsuit for the pain and suffering caused by the alleged abuse, a suit that not only again accused Kelly but also blamed the San Joaquin Diocese for reinstating him.

This brought to mind an e-mail I received from a reader after that column:

"I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes people aren't whom they appear to be."

Pretty much everybody who's known a priest convicted of abuse has said they were fooled. But I will repeat here what I told this reader.

"... lacking other evidence, we must all trust to our own judgment. Mine is out for all to read, and it speaks to a man whom I trust. That is my position until I am proven otherwise, which I sincerely hope I never will be."

Personal feeling aside, an issue that two weeks ago seemed laid to rest has suddenly become much more messy. And it will probably only get worse.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm from Fr. Kelly's home parish in Ireland. My Mum called to tell me about the accusations a few months ago and as I hadn't heard anything since I searched online to see if it was still ongoing. I'm very sad to see it is. Fr. Kelly is a much respected figure in our parish and I remember the excitment caused by his visits home when I was in primary school. We were all very proud of our Fr. Kelly working in America. I don't get home too often these days but I would be surprised if any of our parishoners had a bad word to say about Fr. Kelly. I've met many a wonderful priest in my lifetime and unfortunately I've known of one or two who tarnished the reputation of the chursh but I definitely do not think Fr. Kelly to be among those. I can offer no comfort to the victim, obviously he has suffered at the hands of someone but I hope Fr. Kelly will be exonerated.