Accused Priest Holds No Grudge

Salem News [Salem MA]
March 28, 2005

The beloved former pastor of the closed St. Mary's Italian Catholic Church in Salem and Salem Hospital chaplain, had been living under a cloud since a Gloucester man said he'd been abused by Keohan in the early 1980s. Last week the Boston Archdiocese said it could find no evidence of such abuse and authorized Keohan, 73, to resume his official duties.

Remarkably, Keohan evidences no bitterness towards his accuser or the church, and says he is simply looking forward to resuming his vocation of 40 years, though he is still not sure of his next assignment.

The fact that other priests have been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of such abuse, and the church has paid out millions to settle claims of misconduct, does not lessen the extent of the injustice Keohan has suffered. Few can imagine the pain he has had to endure since learning of the accusations and suspension via a friend who himself heard about it from the TV.

Keohan says his faith kept him strong. But his church, which went from ignoring allegations of abuse to arbitrarily placing priests on "voluntary leave" at the first hint of trouble, let him down.