Diocese Returns Priest to Active Ministry

By David Abel
Boston Globe [Boston MA]
March 23, 2005

Cleared of accusations he molested a teenage boy in the early 1980s, the former administrator of Our Lady of Lourdes in Revere has been returned to active ministry, officials at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston announced yesterday.

The Rev. Edward Keohan, 72, could not be reached yesterday, but his attorney said the priest plans to celebrate by attending a public Mass at a parish this week in Reading. He has not been assigned a parish.

A Boston lawyer representing the accuser said his client received a six-figure settlement from the archdiocese in the case. He said he thought the review board's process was unfair.

"If nothing happened, then why did the church pay my client a substantial amount of money in settlement of his claim?" asked Mitchell Garabedian.

Ann Carter, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, declined to confirm there was a settlement and said the church thoroughly reviewed the accuser's allegations before clearing Keohan, who was ordained in 1959 and for more than a decade served as administrator at the now-closed St. Mary's Church in Salem.

Neither Carter nor Philip D. Moran, a Salem lawyer who represented Keohan, knew whether Keohan would continue to serve as a priest or what he plans to do.

In 2003, the archdiocese put Keohan on administrative leave after a Gloucester man accused him of having fondled and slept naked with him between 1981 and 1983, when the boy was 13 and while the priest served at St. Rose of Lima parish in Chelsea.

"After careful review of the information available regarding the complaint, the [archdiocese] review board determined that the allegation was unsubstantiated," according to a statement released by the archdiocese.

"Since my client did not believe that the review board would be objective at all, and since my client was extremely embarrassed about the whole incident, he did not want to testify," said Mitchell Garabedian. "He simply does not trust the church, and the subjective process the church has set up to determine the guilt or innocence of its priests."

Moran said the priest passed a lie detector test and that members of the accuser's family ultimately disputed the story that the man, who is now 37, had been molested. "Father Keohan and I are delighted," Moran said. "He has devoted 45 years of his life to God as a priest, and we feel he was wrongly accused. There was no basis for the accusation."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.