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California Briefing / Costa Mesa

Priest's sexual abuse case settled

February 28, 2009|Hector Becerra

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County announced a settlement Friday with a man who said a priest sexually abused him repeatedly when he was a second-grader at a Costa Mesa parish school.

Costa Mesa police opened an investigation on Father Denis Lyons after Jonathan Kirrer, 24, alleged that he was molested by the priest when he was a student at St. John the Baptist Church.

Ryan Lilyengren, a spokesman for the diocese, said money to pay the settlement will not come from parishes or schools but rather from insurance and administrative accounts. As part of the agreement, plaintiffs' attorneys asked that the amount to be paid not be disclosed, Lilyengren said.

Lyons was removed from his last post, at a Dana Point parish, in 2002 after allegations surfaced about the molestation of a teenage boy. Criminal charges were dropped in that case after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 invalidated a California law that allowed the prosecution of old sexual abuse cases.

-- Hector Becerra

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