Priest's trial delayed until Thursday

The jury trial of a Costa Mesa priest accused of molesting a 7-year-old has been delayed, according to court records.

Denis Lyons, 77 of Seal Beach, was set to appear at Santa Ana's Central Justice Center on Monday, but will now appear in court at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Lyons is charged with four felony counts of lewd acts on a child under the age of 14, court records show.

He is accused of molesting a boy in the church rectory and sacristy at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Costa Mesa, according to archived reports from the Costa Mesa Police Department and Orange County district attorney's office.

Lyons, who had been a resident at Leisure World in Seal Beach, was arrested July 20, 2009, while playing cards at a community center.

Police allege that he molested a boy four times while the boy was a second- and third-grader at the Costa Mesa church's school between Jan. 1, 1992, and Dec. 31, 1995, according to the release.

Lyons was formerly charged with molesting a child under the age of 14 between 1978 and 1981, but the case was dismissed because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in July 2003 that determined it was unconstitutional to prosecute sex crimes going back indefinitely.

Lyons has pleaded not guilty to all four counts. If convicted, he faces up to 14 years in prison.

— Lauren Williams

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