In January 2004, the Diocese of Stockton Bishop Stephen Blair released a report on child sexual abuse in the Diocese. Between 1950 and 2003, 29 people alleged sexual abuse by 10 priests in the Diocese of Stockton. Fr. Oliver O’Grady was the subject of 17 of the allegations. A total of 404 priests ministered in the Diocese during this time period. Most of the statistics released by the Diocese include the time period from January 1962 when the Diocese was created through 2003.
Two of the priests were criminally charged and convicted, three priests were not criminally charged, and one priests was spared prosecution as a result of the California Supreme Court’s decision on the criminal statute of limitations on child sexual abuse.
At the time 12, lawsuits were pending against the Diocese of Stockton which were filed during the one-year legislative window allowing previously time-barred cases of child sexual abuse to be heard in court.
In July 1998, Attorney Jeff Anderson won a $30 million verdict against the Diocese of Stockton for the sexual abuse of two brothers by Fr. Oliver O’Grady. The award included $6 million in compensatory damages and $24 million in punitive damages. At the time, the award was the largest verdict ever reached against the Catholic Church in California and was the largest nationwide in the amount given to each individual.
On January 15, 2014, the Diocese of Stockton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The bankruptcy filing came on the same day the deposition of Douglass Wilhoit, president and CEO of the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce and Diocesan Review Board member, was scheduled. Wilhoit served on the board which recommended reinstating Fr. Eugene Michael Kelly after allegations of child sexual abuse had been publicly disclosed.
A total of 34 sexual abuse survivors made claims in the Diocese of Stockton bankruptcy proceedings. Judge Christopher M. Klein approved a $15 million consensual reorganization plan in January 2017 after approximately two years of litigation.