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Ex-priest pleads not guilty to sex charges

ABC7 Eyewitness News HD covering Los Angeles and Southern California.

June 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A former Costa Mesa Roman Catholic priest has pleaded not guilty to charges that he molested a child in the early 1990s. It's the second time that Denis Lyons, 76, has been accused of molestation.Lyons entered not guilty pleas Monday to four felony counts of a lewd act with a minor. Prosecutors say Lyons abused the boy from 1992 to 1995 at the rectory and sacristy of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, starting when the child was 7 years old. Lyons was charged after the alleged victim came forward in 2008.

Lyons faces up to 14 years in prison if he's convicted on the current charges.

In 2003, Lyons was charged with molesting three boys between 1978 and 1981. In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law prosecuting old sexual abuse cases.

Lyons was removed from the ministry in 2002. He also served as a priest at St. Mary's By the Sea Catholic Church in Huntington Beach.


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