New Allegation in Priest Pedophilia Case
SF Man Says He Told Church of Being Molested
By Don Lattin
San Francisco Chronicle
May 25, 1994
[Note: A survivor's name has been redacted from this article.]
Catholic Church leaders knew that one of three priests named in a pedophilia lawsuit this week had a history of sexually abusing young boys in San Francisco but nevertheless gave him access to more victims in Santa Rosa, one of his alleged victims said yesterday.
Terence McAteer, the son of former state Senator J. Eugene McAteer, said the Rev. Austin Peter Keegan repeatedly sodomized him at the Disneyland Hotel when he was 10 years old, shortly after the priest presided over his late father's funeral.
Eugene McAteer — patriarch of one of the city's most prominent Catholic families — had died of a sudden heart attack while running for mayor of San Francisco in 1967.
"Here is our family priest, who said the funeral for my father two months earlier," said McAteer. "I was kept up all night being anally raped and orally copulated. You name it, it was performed on me. I was 10 at the time."
REPORT TO CHURCH AUTHORITIES
Nine years later, when McAteer's family wanted Keegan to perform his marriage ceremony in 1976, McAteer said he told his family about the rape and reported it to church authorities in San Francisco and Santa Rosa.
McAteer's account comes amid increasing concerns about how the Catholic Church in San Francisco and across the nation is handling allegations of clergy sexual abuse. This week, nine Northern California men who say they were molested as boys filed a lawsuit against three priests and accused local church leaders of covering up the problem.
Keegan, who could not be reached for comment, is now listed as an "inactive priest" who is not authorized to perform the sacraments. Church officials say he may be in Mexico.
McAteer, now 37, is not part of this week's lawsuit against the church. But he said he decided to publicly tell his story after learning about reports that the church allowed Keegan access to more boys after knowing his history as an alleged pedophile.
Three years after McAteer reported Keegan to church authorities, Keegan allegedly molested [Redacted], a boy at St. Eugene Parish in Santa Rosa, on repeated occasions between 1979 and 1981, this week's lawsuit alleged.
McAteer said he reported his rape in 1976 to the Rev. Vincent Ring, who informed Archbishop Joseph Thomas McGucken, then the presiding prelate in San Francisco, and Bishop Mark Hurley, then the leader of the Diocese of Santa Rosa — where Keegan had just been sent.
'WE DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY NOW'
McGucken died in 1977. Hurley, one of the defendants named in this week's lawsuit, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Ring, now the pastor of St. Robert Church in San Bruno, declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.
Bill Mitchell, spokesman for the archdiocese, said Archbishop John Quinn, who replaced McGucken as San Francisco prelate, had no knowledge of Keegan's reputation.
"A lot of time has passed and we do things differently now," Mitchell said. "We would like to provide support and compassionate understanding to any alleged victims."
McAteer is among a half-dozen longtime Catholics who have told The Chronicle that Keegan was a well-known pedophile at various San Francisco parishes in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
This was confirmed by one current archdiocesan official, who said, "He (Keegan) has a history. There's no question about that."
Meanwhile, Quinn has decided not to publicly release information on past cases of child sex abuse in the archdiocese.
In an interview with The Chronicle earlier this month, Quinn said he would consider providing a public accounting of the archdiocese's internal investigations of pedophilia during the past 25 years.
But in a letter to The Chronicle, Mitchell said: "After review and consultation, (Quinn) has decided to remain consistent with the policies of the archdiocese on this matter, which is not to reveal the names or numbers of alleged abusers, whether they are clergy, lay or religious."