Assignment Record – Rev. Martin McKeon, o.f.m.

Summary of Case: McKeon was ordained a Franciscan priest of the Santa Barbara, CA Province in 1952. The first 11 years of his ministry were spent at the Franciscan minor seminary in Santa Barbara, where he taught and was for a time Prefect of Discipline. He went on to serve as Promoter of Vocations for the province and, for almost 20 years, pastor of Mission San Luis Rey. He also served as an auxiliary Navy chaplain. McKeon was accused in lawsuits in the 2000s of having sexually abused at least three boys during his time at the minor seminary. He died in 1986.

Ordained: June 8, 1952
Died: Feb. 26, 1986


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


San Diego bishop was Charles Francis Buddy (1936-1966)

1946 Novitiate San Luis Rey CA seminarian  


Los Angeles archbishop was James Francis Aloysius McIntyre (1948-1970)

1953 Mission Santa Barbara Santa Barbara CA theology student/seminarian  



1964 St. Anthony's Seraphic Seminary

Santa Barbara

McKeon was accused of the sexual abuse of at least three students of this minor seminary.

CA Prefect of Discipline 1958-1964; Latin English professor One of the students McKeon is said to have abused, Robert Van Handel, went on to become a Franciscan priest and to sexually abuse St. Anthony's students.
1964 1968 Provincial Office Oakland CA Promoter of Vocations  


Oakland bishop was Floyd Lawrence Begin (1962-1977)

1968 St. Elizabeth's Oakland CA   St. Elizabeth's had a high school and a grade school.
1968 1969 San Luis Rey College San Luis Rey CA professor of Scripture and English; Director of Brothers' Formation  
1979   Camp Pendleton Camp Pendleton CA auxiliary chaplain  


San Diego bishop was Leo Thomas Maher (1969-1990)

1986 Mission San Luis Rey San Luis Rey CA pastor 1969-1986

McKeon alluded in a 1981 letter to a stay he had had at Guest House.

McKeon died Feb. 26, 1986.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1953-1987)

Hundreds Pay Respects to Memory of McKeon, By Ernesto Portillo, San Diego Union-Tribune, March 5, 1986
LA Archdiocesan Report, Feb. 17, 2004, page 5
John Roe 4 vs. Does, Cause No. 1156450, Superior Court of California;
Abuse Was Common in Religious Orders, By Jeremy Herb and Rob Dennis, San Jose Mercury News, April 1, 2008
Accused Clerics, Contra Costa Times, April 1, 2008
Ernesto C. v. Franciscans, Cause No. 1337577, Santa Barbara Co. Superior Court Oct. 5, 2009
Clover v. Franciscans, Cause No. 1338070, Santa Barbara Co. Superior Court Nov. 3, 2009
McKeon's Personnel file, posted on, May 23, 2012
Franciscan Clergy Sex-Abuse Case Records Released, Los Angeles Times, May 23, 2012
Franciscan Order's Files Tell Systemic Abuse Story, By Gillian Flaccus, San Antonio Express-News, May 23, 2012
Roman Catholic Church Abuse Files Released in Unprecedented Move, CBS Los Angeles, May 23, 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 McKeon'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 April 14, 2013