Diocese Ok'd Priest to Teach: Allegations: He Has Been Charged with Sexually Abusing a Minor in Highland in 1972.

By Michael Fisher
Press Enterprise
August 17, 2002

The Diocese of San Bernardino acknowledged Friday that it

cleared a former Inland priest to work at a Christian school in

Orange County despite past allegations of sexual misconduct

against him.

Authorities are searching for Monsignor Patrick O'Keeffe, 67,

who was charged last month with 15 felony counts of oral

copulation with a minor stemming from his alleged 1972 abuse of

a 17-year-old girl at St. Adelaide Catholic Church in Highland.

But in 1997, diocesan officials say they were aware only of

accusations brought by three adult women against O'Keeffe. They

cleared O'Keeffe to teach at the private St. Anne School in Laguna

Niguel, said the Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the diocese

that encompasses Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

"We did not handle this matter correctly," Lincoln said. "Had it

occurred today, we would have handled it far differently and Pat

O'Keeffe definitely would not have been recommended to St. Anne."

O'Keeffe could not be located for comment.

O'Keeffe was dismissed by the San Bernardino diocese in 1994

after it reached a confidential settlement to end a lawsuit brought

by one of three women who had accused him of sexual misconduct,

Lincoln said.

Two other women had accused O'Keeffe of similar misconduct about

15 years earlier, Lincoln said.

The woman who accuses O'Keeffe of abusing her in 1972 told the

diocese that she first reported the alleged misconduct to church

officials in 1989. But the diocese has no record of the report,

Lincoln said, adding that the matter apparently was handled


O'Keeffe, a Laguna Niguel resident who retired from the

priesthood in 1999, began teaching at the elementary and middle

school in 1994.

O'Keeffe was dismissed by St. Anne in April of this year after

the diocese told school administrators of the 1972 allegations,

Lincoln said.

School administrators could not be reached for comment.

The school is not affiliated with the Diocese of Orange County,

said diocese spokeswoman Maria Schinderle. She said O'Keeffe is not

authorized to work as a priest in the diocese and that his teaching

job was considered a secular position.

Any original material on these pages is copyright 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
guide of business management sytem guide of job opinions guide of capital goods guide of make fast money guide of Debt restructuring guide of home business guide of income money guide of hospital products guide of international market guide of repair roof before winter guide of website income guide of secure your business guide of face makeup tools guide of jewellery arts guide of tv shows guide of best places on earth guide of job plans guide of cheap cars guide of creating products guide of women tools guide of eat less guide of car insurance process guide of sport stuff guide of garden home guide of cheap insurances guide of electronic tech guide of healthy feeding guide of what is next in fashion guide of improve company guide of tactical insurance guide of make money at home guide of development in business guide of dept loan guide of cooking secrets guide of correct companies guide of jobs with more income guide of reviews o general products guide of improving technology guide of ideal job guide of business sectors guide of dept problem guide of unlimited business guide of suitable insurance company guide of money cars guide of how to market guide of heatlhy diet tips guide of decoration tipse guide of security problems