Here's a description of Kelly's sickening "I'm innocent" speech to his congregation yesterday:

Three hours after hearing the verdict in his civil trial, a teary-eyed, choked up Michael Kelly faced an emotional congregation.

Earlier that afternoon, he was held liable on three counts of assault, sexual assault and abuse. He had been removed as a priest, stripping him of the ability to lead his congregation just before Easter.

"Practically speaking for now, and several years to come, I cannot be your pastor anymore," he said as his voice cracked. "It breaks my heart, but I can't. That is the way it is written. As much as I love all of you, I have to obey what the rules are."

Yet he maintained that he is innocent, and reaffirmed his plans to keep fighting.

"I am disappointed in the verdict," he said. "The charges against me are not true they didn't happen. These allegations aren't tru

More than a hundred parishioners gathered at St. Joachim Catholic Church in Lockeford, where Kelly has served as priest since 2004. The churchgoers hugged one another, clutching tissues and listening to Kelly's every word through bloodshot eyes.

Edited by pluckmemory (04/07/12 11:29 AM)