A former Costa Mesa priest pleaded not guilty Tuesday to molesting a boy for three years in the early 1990s.
Denis Lyons, 75, the former priest of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, pleaded not guilty to four counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old.
Lyons is accused of masturbating a boy twice when he was between 7 and 9 years old in Lyons’ room in the parish rectory and twice in the church sacristy. This is the second time Lyons has faced accusations of molesting children. County prosecutors charged him in 2003, but a state Supreme Court ruling invalidated the charges because they were not within the statute of limitations. The court ruled in 1994 that any sexual assault that occurred before then had a six-year statute of limitations, meaning if the abuse was before 1988, the abuser could not be charged.