|Ex-Monsignor's Abuse Case from 1972 to Be Dismissed
By Michael Fisher
July 12, 2003
San Bernardino County prosecutors have moved to drop charges
against a longtime Inland priest accused of sexually abusing a
teenage girl in Highland 30 years ago.
Documents to dismiss the case against Monsignor Patrick O'Keeffe
were filed Monday and are awaiting a judge's approval, said
Susan Mickey, spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County district
attorney's office, in a telephone interview.
Prosecutors say they were forced to dismiss the case after the
U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1994 California law that
allowed authorities to prosecute decades-old cases alleging
O'Keeffe, 67, faced 15 felony counts of oral copulation with a
minor related to allegations involving a 17-year-old parishioner
at St. Adelaide Catholic Church in Highland in 1972. He left for
his native Ireland shortly before San Bernardino County
prosecutors charged him a year ago.
Nicki Rister, the woman who leveled the accusations against
O'Keeffe, said Friday that she was disappointed and frustrated
by the Supreme Court's ruling.
"It's a slap in the face to all victims, not just me," Rister
said Friday by telephone from her Colorado home. "It's not
Although The Press-Enterprise generally does not identify
possible victims of sexual abuse, Rister gave permission for her
name to be used.
O'Keeffe, a priest in San Diego and the Inland area since 1959,
worked in the Diocese of San Bernardino since its creation in
1978. The diocese encompasses Riverside and San Bernardino
Diocese officials said he was dismissed in 1994 after the
diocese reached a confidential settlement in a lawsuit filed by
one of three women who accused O'Keeffe of having an affair with
them. He retired as a priest in 1999.
The Supreme Court's recent ruling also means charges will be
dropped against Donald Farmer, a former Glendale priest accused
of molesting four children in Crestline in the mid-1960s, Deputy
District Attorney Jane Templeton said by phone.
Farmer, now a Fresno therapist, is next due to appear in court
Aug. 11, at which time the case will be dismissed, Templeton
On Tuesday, prosecutors dropped charges against Monsignor Peter
Luque, 69, who faced 10 felony counts of lewd acts on a child
stemming from allegations dating to 1963.
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