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Youth's Suit Says Church Failed to Avert Molestation

June 17, 1994

STOCKTON — An unidentified youth filed a lawsuit Thursday in Stockton alleging that Roman Catholic officials, including then-Bishop Roger M. Mahony, knew of and failed to protect him from being molested by a priest for nearly a decade.

The youth, now 18, is identified only as John Doe 4B. In the suit, he alleges that Father Oliver Francis O'Grady molested him beginning in 1979. The suit also charges that in 1976 O'Grady admitted to molesting a 10-year-old boy.

O'Grady, who is serving a 14-year sentence in a California state prison, pleaded guilty in a Calaveras County court last summer to four felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts with two children.

Named as defendants are the Stockton Diocese, Sacred Heart Parish in Turlock, Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Stockton and St. Andrew's Parish in San Andreas.

Mahony served as bishop of Stockton from 1980 to 1985 before becoming cardinal in the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

"We're not trying to hold (Mahony) personally responsible," said Dave Burleson, attorney for the youth. "We're holding the diocese responsible for the effects of Mahony's actions. Mahony was in the position to remove the priest and prevent him from doing this to this child and others"

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