A onetime prominent priest with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange County finally will pay for repeatedly molesting a seven-year-old boy inside a parish rectory and church sacristy in the 1990s.
According to prosecutors, Denis Lyons pleaded guilty in March and last week received his punishment: one year in jail, five years of formal probation and 400 hours of community service.
The 78-year-old serial molester must also register for the rest of his life as a sex offender and won't be allowed to visit places where children congregate.
In 2008, the victim filed a complaint with the Costa Mesa Police Department and officials arrested Lyons the following year at Leisure World in Seal Beach.
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"Today is the day I finally have closure," a prosecutor's press statement quoted the victim as saying. "I have spent the last 16 years living in pain, living in shame. He took away my innocence as a child. This man has ruined my life and many others besides me. He has changed my perception of religion, life, and right and wrong . . . He is a bad person, a bad man."
In addition to working in Costa Mesa, Lyons also worked as a priest at St. Edwards the Confessor Catholic Church in Dana Point and St. Mary's by the Sea Church in Huntington Beach.