Greed Led to Molest Suit, Priest Says

By Isabel Williams
San Francisco Chronicle
November 9, 1994

[Note: A survivor's name has been redacted from this article.]

A Roman Catholic priest who has been accused in a lawsuit of molesting young boys says misunderstanding and greed are behind the charges.

The Rev. Austin Peter Keegan, found in Baja California by KRON- TV, said "the lure of money" sparked the suit, but refused to discuss specifics.

Keegan has refused to return to the United States to face the allegations, and has been relieved of his priestly duties.

The lawsuit says that in the 1960s, nine boys were molested by Keegan, Monsignor Patrick O'Shea of St. Cecelia's parish in San Francisco and the Rev. Gary Timmons, founder and counselor at Camp St. Michael in Mendocino County.

Attorneys for the other two clergymen have denied the charges.

Plaintiff [Redacted] accused Keegan of forcibly throwing him to the ground, removing his clothes and fondling and molesting him at the church school and rectory, the suit said.

In a separate accusation not included in the lawsuit, Terence McAteer, son of the late state Senator Eugene McAteer, said Keegan repeatedly raped him in a motel near Disneyland three months after his father's funeral.

"What his motivation is I don't know," Keegan told KRON. "I haven't talked to him in 30 years."

Asked if it was a misunderstanding, he replied: "That's the way I like to characterize it."

While not admitting to any of the charges, Keegan acknowledged he had made mistakes in the past.

"Yes, I have regrets in my life," he said. "I'm trying to . . . spend what years I have left doing good, because of regrets in my past life . . . we're all sinners."

Keegan said he has been living with the help of friends since he was relieved of his duties as a priest in January.

Keegan denied he was hiding in Mexico.

"If I have to go back to San Francisco, I will go back," he said. "I've already responded to the lawsuit. I'm not running from it."


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