Priest Accused Of Sexual Abuse Returns To Ireland

The priest who fled the US on the eve of his sexual abuse trial has claimed he returned to Ireland for health reasons.

A civil jury found Fr Michael Kelly guilty of molesting a student in the 1980’s. The priest, who has been banned from wearing a collar and performing sacraments but has not yet been defrocked, was due to appear in front of the civil court on Monday.

However, on Sunday it was revealed he had left the US and returned to Ireland, in a move that shocked even his own legal team.

Maintaining his innocence Fr Kelly, from Ballingarry, Co Tipperary, yesterday said that he was in Ireland on "health grounds".

His friends in Ballingarry yesterday expressed shock and disbelief that he didn't "stay and stand his ground".

Fr Kelly's attorney, Thomas Beatty, said he spoke by phone with his client on Monday afternoon.

"I wanted him to return. I asked him to return. But he's lost a lot of weight in the past eight days and said he wants to die with his family."


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