Fr. Michael Emmet Kelly – Diocese of Santa Rosa

Father Michael Emmet Kelly

Diocese of Santa Rosa

Michael Emmet Kelly Diocese of Santa Rosa Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1971

Suspended: 1999

Laicized: 2004

Assignment History:

  • 1973-1979: Our Lady of Fatima (ModestoCA)
  • 1979-1984: St. Bernard’s (Tracy, CA)
  • 1984-1987: Cathedral of the Annunciation (Stockton, CA)
  • 1987-1997: St. Patrick’s, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and St. Anne’s (Sonora, CA)
  • 1997-2000: Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Stockton, CA)
  • 2000: Sick Leave
  • 2001-2002: St. Andrew’s (San Andreas, CA)
  • 2003: On Leave
  • 2003-2004: St. Jude’s (Ceres, CA)
  • 2004-2012: St. Joachim (Lockeford, CA)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Michael Emmet Kelly:

Fr. Michael Emmet Kelly, a native of Ireland, was ordained a priest in 1971, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of Santa Rosa. According to media reports, he was removed from ministry in September 2007, after an accusation surfaced that he had sexually abused a boy between 1984 and 1986. He was reinstated in March 2008, after the Diocesan Review Board could not substantiate the accusation.

In 2011, another young man came forward accusing Kelly of sexually abusing him at age 10, between 2000-2002. The case became the focus of a criminal investigation. Kelly denied the allegations and was allowed to remain in active ministry. In 2012, a civil trial related to the first accusation resulted in Kelly being held liable for child molestation. He was removed from ministry, although he and the diocese maintained his innocence.

Fr. Kelly fled to Ireland in 2012, just before he was scheduled to testify in a second phase of the civil trial, which focused on the diocese’s handling of his case. The diocese settled with Kelly’s accuser. In a September 2012 lawsuit, Kelly was accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old altar boy in the early 2000s. In November 2012, a third lawsuit was filed by a 22-year-old man who accused Kelly of sexual abuse, including sodomy, in 2000 when he was a 10-year-old altar boy.

Kelly was indicted by a CA grand jury and an extradition warrant for his arrest in Ireland and deportation to the U.S. The charges were dropped in 2016 when the 26-year-old alleged victim died. Kelly remained wanted on unlawful flight charges, and, as of January 2017, he may have been arrested in Morocco.

Kelly’s name is listed as accused by the diocese on its 2019 list of Clergy Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Santa Rosa in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in one of California’s Catholic dioceses, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Santa Rosa now have legal options due to a voluntary compensation fund created by the Diocese of Santa Rosa, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.