Denis Lyons, ex-OC Roman Catholic Priest, Must Register as Sex Offender For Sex With Second Grade Boy

Denis Lyons child molester OC mug.jpg
Yet another priest goes down
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.

"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."

Lyons--whose infamous conduct won previous coverage by the Weekly's Gustavo Arellano HERE and HERE--escaped convictions in other alleged molestations because of statute of limitation issues.

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.
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If you have been abused, or have seen or suspected abuse, call law enforcement, not church officials.


Joelle Casteix

SNAP Western Regional Director

jcasteix (at)


Denis Lyons had a long career in the Diocese of Orange and was exposed to thousands of children at St. Edwards, St. John the Baptist, St. Mary's and other locations. I hope that if there are other victims of Lyons (or any predator) that they will know that it is safe to come forward to law enforcement, get help, and keep other kids safe.


Pity that the Diocese of Orange could never do the right thing on behalf of the children in Lyon's path.


One year is not nearly enough time for this predator priest to spend behind bars for ruining children's lives, but hopefully his victims will feel a sense of justice because they exposed the truth about him. Let's hope that every person who saw, suspected or may have suffered sex crimes by Denis Lyons, will find the courage and strength to speak up, and contact police. Keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.


Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511.,(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

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