Fr. Denis Lyons – Archdiocese of Los Angeles

| Sep 18, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Denis Lyons

Archdiocese of Los Angeles

Ordained: 1958

Removed: 2004

Assignment History:

  • 1959-1963: Holy Trinity (San Pedro, CA)
  • 1964-1970: St. Bernard’s (Bellflower, CA)
  • 1971-1974: St. Genevieve’s (Van Nuys, CA)
  • 1975-1977: St. Pius V (Buena Park, CA)
  • 1978: St. Mary Church (Huntington Beach, CA)
  • 1979-1996: St. John the Baptist (Costa Mesa, CA)
  • 1997-2002: St. Edward (Dana Point, CA)
  • 2002: Leave of Absence

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father Denis Lyons:

Fr. Denis Lyons was ordained a priest in 1958, who served in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. According to media reports, in 1993, he admitted to inappropriate behavior with two adults when he worked as a pastor at St. John the Baptist in Costa Mesa, CA. In 1994, he was sent to a residential treatment center for eight months after two boys’ parents contacted the Diocese of Orange regarding inappropriate advances occurring around 1979 when the boys were 14 and 16. It was determined that he was not a pedophile and did not pose a risk to minors.

In April 2002, Father Lyons was placed on administrative leave from St. Edward Church in Dana Point after a man alleged that the priest molested him in 1979 at St. John the Baptist. He was arrested in April 2003 on charges he sexually abused a teenage boy in 1979 during counseling sessions at St. John the Baptist and during visits to the boy’s home. The charges were later dropped due to the statute of limitations. He left the priesthood in April 2004.

In March 2008, a man filed a lawsuit alleging Fr. Lyons sexually abused him when he was a third-grader at St. John the Baptist School from 1994 to 1995. The case was settled in February 2009. Prior to this settlement, the Diocese of Orange had already paid more than $4 million to settle sex-abuse lawsuits involving Father Lyons.

In July 2009, Father Lyons was arrested on new charges of child sexual abuse. On March 23, 2012, he pleaded guilty to four felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and was sentenced to one year in jail, five years’ probation. He also had to register as a sex offender. The Deputy District Attorney who prosecuted the case said the victim asked prosecutors to resolve the case without it having to go to trial, so as not to relive the pain from so many years ago. Just days later, a new suit alleging child sexual abuse was filed.

According to the Diocese of Orange’s website, in 2016, Father Lyons was living a “Life of Prayer and Penance.” He was included in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ list of priests accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. He was also included in the Diocese of Orange’s list of clergy removed from the ministry as a result of credible allegations of sexual abuse. According to the California Megan’s Law website, Father Lyons is believed to be living in Los Angeles. His current access to children is unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in California.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in one of California’s Catholic dioceses, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles now have legal options due to a voluntary compensation fund created by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help.

Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.