Assignment Record– Rev. Austin Peter Keegan

Summary of Case: Keegan may have sexually abused at least 80 children in the San Francisco and Santa Rosa dioceses. He was called "a monster" by a San Francisco Assistant District Attorney because of the large numbers of children he is said to have abused and because he used force. Keegan left California and moved to Mexico in the early 1980s, where he worked for a time in an orphanage. He was accused of child sexual abuse in a 1994 lawsuit, was found to be in Mexico by a news crew, but refused to return to the U.S. to face the allegations. The lawsuit ended in a settlement. In 2002 he was indicted on 40 counts of the abuse of three minors over a 28-year period. He then fled from his home in Oceanside CA, back to Mexico. He was arrested in March 2003 in Puerta Vallarta and returned to the United States. Keegan was released from custody after a few months when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a California statutes of limitations law that would have allowed for prosecution.

Ordained
: 1962

   

Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes

1962

San Francisco archbishop was Joseph Thomas McGucken (1962-1977).

1967 St. Cecilia's

San Francisco

Keegan was accused in a Jan. 2003 lawsuit of having molested a 14-year-old boy in 1965. The accuser said that Keegan plied him with alcohol and cigarettes, wrestled with him, and had the boy spend nights with him in the priest's rectory bedroom.

CA 4/5, 4/4, 3/4, 2/4 Parish had a school with 376-400 boys and 412-400 girls.
1967 1969 Epiphany

San Francisco

Keegan was accused of repeatedly raping and orally copulating a 10 year-old boy in 1967 at the Disneyland Hotel one night, two months after Keegan said the funeral mass for the boy's father. The accuser said he reported the abuse to the San Francisco archdiocese and the Santa Rosa diocese in 1976.

CA 3/4, 3/5 Parish had a school with 361-340 boys and 364-338 girls.
1969 1973 St. Vincent De Paul San Francisco CA 2/4, 2/5 Parish had a school with 175-167 boys and 209-187 girls.
1970  

St. Ignatius Preparatory High School

San Francisco CA Keegan is said to have been assigned to St. Ignatius in the middle of the 1969-1970 school year. This assignment does not appear in the Official Catholic Directory, but Keegan is included in the 1970 school yearbook, the Ignatian.
1972 1975 Mary's Help Hospital Daly City CA Chaplain  
1975 1976 Unassigned        

1976

Santa Rosa bishop was Mark Joseph Hurley (1969-1986).

1977 On Duty Outside the Archdiocese Santa Rosa CA   Not found listed in the Santa Rosa diocesan pages of the 1977 Directory.
1977 1981 Cathedral of St. Eugene's

Santa Rosa

Keegan was accused in a 1994 lawsuit of having sexually abused a boy at this parish from 1979-1981, when the boy was 12-14 years old. Some of the abuse is said to have occurred in a diocesan car outside of St. Eugene's school, and in the parish rectory. The accuser said Keegan's behavior included "forcibly throwing him to the ground and removing his clothes, fondling and masturbation."

CA 4/6, 4/7

Parish had a school with 321-408 students.

Keegan is not indexed beyond the 1981 Directory.

 

 

1981 2011        

Keegan was found by a San Francisco news crew in November 1994 to be living in Baja California (Mexico). He was "relieved as his duties as a priest" in January 1994. He refused to return to San Francisco to face allegations of child sexual abuse. Keegan is said to have been working at a Mexican orphanage.

The 1994 lawsuit (which involved multiple victims of multiple priests) resulted in a settlement for two victims in August 1995. San Francisco and Santa Rosa church authorities apologized to the victims and their families.

Keegan was indicted in Sept. 2002 on 40 counts of the abuse of three minors over a 28 year period, ending in 1992. Church records indicated he "may have molested as many as 80 children" over three decades. A San Francisco D.A. said Keegan was "a monster" because of the number of children he had abused, and because he used force. Keegan fled to Mexico from his home in Oceanside, CA after his Sept. 2002 indictment. He may have been living in Oceanside since 1998. He was arrested by the FBI in Puerto Vallarta in March 2003. Because of a U.S. Supreme Court regarding statutes of limitations, Keegan was set free later in 2003.

 

Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1963-1981)

Ignatian, St. Ignatius High School Yearbook, San Francisco, 1970
3 Priests Sued -- Molestation of Boys Alleged, By Don Lattin, San Francisco Chronicle, May 24, 1994
New Allegation in Priest Pedophilia Case, By Don Lattin, San Francisco Chronicle, May 25, 1994
Greed Led to Molest Suit, Priest Says, By Isabel Williams, San Francisco Chronicle, November 9, 1994
Catholic Church Settles 2 Molestation Suits, By Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, August 10, 1995
15 Men Settle Molest Suit against 3 Bay Priests, By Don Lattin, San Francisco Chronicle, March 22, 1996
More Ex-Priest Molest Indictments, By Jaxon Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle, September 20, 2002
Officers in County on the Lookout for Suspended Priest, By Karen Kucher, San Diego Union-Tribune, November 23, 2002
S.F. Ex-Priest Indicted in Abuse Case Caught in Mexico, By Ryan Kim, San Francisco Chronicle, March 2, 2003
Mexico Sends Back U.S. Priest Accused of Child Molestation, By Karen Kucher and Sandra Dibble, San Diego Union-Tribune, March 5, 2003
Church Paid Indicted Priest, By Elizabeth Fernandez, The San Francisco Chronicle [San Francisco CA], March 30, 2003
Retroactive Punishment' Test Case, By Bob Egelko, March 31, 2003
No Jobs Waiting for Pedophile Priests, By Elizabeth Fernandez and Don Lattin, San Francisco Chronicle [California], Downloaded June 27, 2003
Some Upset Diocese Won't ID Priests, By Guy Kovner, The Press Democrat [Santa Rosa CA], January 19, 2004
Levada Takes Heat over Abuse Inquiry, By Don Lattin, San Francisco Chronicle, November 12, 2004
Fugitive Priest Still out of 'Reach', By Guy Kovner, The Press Democrat [California], July 1, 2006
Fugitives from Justice: Roman Catholic Priests, By David Jackson, Gary Marx, Brian Boyer, David Eads, Katie Nieland, and Joe Germuska, Chicago Tribune, March 11, 2012

 



Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Keegan's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on September 3, 2015.


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