Sex abuse victims outraged as California diocese set to pay out annuity to molester priest

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — A defrocked priest who admitted molesting at least 25 children is due to begin receiving monthly payments from an annuity purchased by the Stockton Diocese when he turns 65 on Saturday.

The payments, which will total more than $94,560 over 10 years — about $788 a month — have outraged abuse victims who said Oliver O'Grady shouldn't be rewarded, and any funds should go to victims' assistance programs.

Bishop Stephen Blaire, who arranged the annuity, said it was part of a deal to ensure that O'Grady left the priesthood. Blaire said he recognized the payments would be received poorly, "but there was a reason."

O'Grady was convicted in 1994 of molesting two brothers between 1978 and 1991. He served almost seven years in prison, then was deported to his native Ireland.

The former priest was the subject of an award-winning 2006 documentary, "Deliver Us from Evil," in which he spoke openly of abusing more than 20 children. His case has cost the Stockton diocese millions of dollars to settle sexual abuse lawsuits.

Blaire said that while he found it distasteful to provide an annuity, "I wanted to provide some measure of justice or peace of mind for his victims that he could never again use his priesthood to damage families. I didn't see any other way of guaranteeing that he would be out of the priesthood."

O'Grady, who had been removed from his priestly duties before he went to prison, was defrocked in 2001, Blaire said.

The diocese purchased the annuity seven years ago and it cost the church $11,000 a year. It was paid off by 2009. The payments to O'Grady will be made through an insurance company.

O'Grady's victims are outraged.

"He gets rewarded. I get very frustrated," Nancy Sloan, 45, told The Modesto Bee. Sloan was sexually abused by O'Grady when she was 11. "The church has certainly gone back on its word countless times. I don't know why it wouldn't even cross their minds to go back on the annuity — give it back to a victims fund."

Jeff Anderson, a St. Paul, Minn., lawyer for the two boys O'Grady went to jail for molesting, said O'Grady doesn't deserve any money.

"Why would they pay him after he's been deported, after he's been convicted?" Anderson asked. "He's deserving of no money, certainly from them."

It recently came out that O'Grady had volunteered at a church in the Netherlands.


Information from: The Modesto Bee,