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Assignment Record– Rev. John T. Keller

Summary of Case: John T. Keller was ordained for the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston in 1974. He assisted in parishes in Houston and Spring and, in 1983, became pastor of his first of three Houston parishes. He also spent a number of years on the archdiocesan Presbyteral Council.

In 2002 the archdiocese received a complaint that Keller had sexually abused a 16-year-old altar boy in the early 1980s, while assigned to Christ the Good Shepherd in Spring. The complaint was made by the boy's father, who had been a parish dean and a friend of Keller's. He said that on a camping trip with his son, Keller plied the boy with alcohol, then invited him into his bed where he put his hands into the boy's pants. Keller's accuser said that in the mid-1990s he and his therapist met with Keller, who reassured him that "he was the only one." The accuser's mother wrote to Bishop Fiorenza in Fall 2002 saying, in part, that shortly after the camping trip she found in her son's room "love letters" to the boy from Keller. She said she confronted Keller, who said he was "dealing with his problem in therapy." Keller admitted that he "crossed a proper boundary," but denied his behavior was abuse. The archdiocesan review board determined that Keller "acted very inappropriately" but that his behavior was not sexual abuse. Keller was kept in ministry, including during the investigation.

 

Ordained: 1974


   

Start Stop Assignments Town/Accusations State Position Notes

1974

Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Archbishop was John Louis Morkovsky (1975-1984).

1977 St. Francis Cabrini Houston TX 2/2

 

1977 1980 Prince of Peace Houston TX 2/2  
1980 1983 Christ the Good Shepherd

Spring

Keller was accused in 2002 of fondling a 16-year-old altar boy during a camping trip while assigned to this parish in the early 1980s. His accuser said Keller plied him with wine, then called him to bed and put his hands down his [the boy's] pants. Keller admitted he "crossed a proper boundary," but denied abuse.

TX 2/2 The boy was the son of a parish deacon. It was he who, with his son's permission, contacted the diocese in 2002 with the complaint of sexual abuse. Keller had been a family friend.

1983

Morkovsky was succeeded as Galveston-Houston archbishop by Joseph Anthony Fiorenza (1984-2006).

1991 St. Francis Cabrini Houston TX 1/2, 1/1 St. Francis Cabrini had a religious education program with 862 students.
1987 1988 Presbyteral Council Galveston - Houston TX    
1991 1999 St. Justin Martyr Houston TX 1/1, 1/2

St. Justin's had a religious education program with 874-1,88 students.

Keller's accuser said that in the mid-1990s he and his therapist met with Keller, and that the priest assured the young man that "he was the only one."

2003

Daniel Nicholas DiNardo replaced Fiorenza as Galeveston-Houston archbishop (2006-).

2009 Presbyteral Council Galveston - Houston TX area representative (Eastern and San Jacinto)

Keller was kept in ministry after the diocese received a complaint that he fondled a boy in the early 1980s. The diocesan review board determined that the priest "acted very inappropriately" but that Keller's behavior was not sexual abuse.

The boy's mother said in a Fall 2002 letter to Bishop Fiorenza that a few years after the trip, she found love letters in her son's room from Keller. She said she confronted the priest who told her he was "dealing with his problem in therapy."

1999 2016 Prince of Peace Houston TX 1/2, 1/3 Prince of Peace had a religious education program with 1,403-2,950 students.

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.

Sources: Official Catholic Directory (Kenedy & Sons 1975-2015).

Houston Priest Still Working Despite Abuse Accusation, By Reese Dunklin, The Dallas Morning News, June 9, 2003
Scandal Lingers As Bishops Meet, By Tara Dooley, June 19, 2003 

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 Keller's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with the allegations against him, as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegations 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 November 3, 2016.


 
 

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