|Sex-Abuse Allegation against S.F. Catholic Priest
By Matthai Kuruvila
San Francisco Chronicle
March 22, 2011
A longtime Roman Catholic priest in San Francisco has been put on leave after church authorities learned of an allegation of sexual abuse dating from the 1970s, officials said Monday.
The circumstances of the case involving the Rev. Daniel Keohane are vague, but the alleged victim was a 17-year-old girl who attended the Church of the Epiphany in 1978 or 1979, the Archdiocese of San Francisco said. The Excelsior neighborhood church was the first parish where Keohane worked after he was ordained in 1978.
Church staffers found the allegation in a file and contacted the woman to determine her age, said Maurice Healy, a spokesman for the archdiocese.
Healy said it's unclear what prompted the closer examination, but he said procedures that the church drew up in response to earlier sexual abuse cases involving priests required the closer review.
"Someone may have asked a question at that time, and it may not have been answered," he said. "I simply don't have those facts. In this environment ... questions need to be asked."
Keohane, 58, denies the allegation. But the archdiocese deemed the charge "credible," meaning that it merited investigation.
"We acted upon it immediately," Healy said. Keohane has been put on paid leave.
Keohane is now the associate pastor at St. Cecilia Church in the Sunset District, where parishioners were told of the news Sunday. The archdiocese has also contacted the district attorney's office, Healy said.
The matter will be investigated by the Independent Review Board of the Archdiocese, a group of Catholics that looks into all abuse allegations.
Keohane has worked at several churches in the city and oversaw the closure of St. Brigid Church on Broadway, whose members fought for more than a decade to keep the parish open.
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