SF Priest Investigated for Lewd Acts with a Minor

Fox Reno
March 22, 2011

[with video]

SAN FRANCISCO -- A San Francisco priest at St.Cecilia Parish accused of sexual abusing a girl in the 1970s is now on indefinite leave pending a thorough investigation.

"Father" Daniel Keohane, 58, served as associate pastor at the church. The allegations surfaced after he applied for another position and the vetting process unearthed the more than 30-year-old secret.

Keohane, an ordained priest since 1978, was accused of sexually abusing a then 17-year-old girl while he was assigned to the Church of the Epiphany in San Francisco in the late 1970s.

Maurice Healy, a spokesman for the archdiocese of San Francisco, said the office is taking the allegations seriously and investigating the incident.

"In the meantime he'll be placed on administrative leave," he said. "The priest has denied the allegation."

Healy said the allegation surfaced last week when staffers reviewed Keohane's files and an independent review board determined it warranted further investigation.

"It's a misdemeanor if she's 18," Healy said. "It's abuse if she's 17."

Healy said he contacted the victim to determine her age, and she was under 17 at the time, but she did not come forward with the allegation until he contacted her.

The Archdiocese of San Francisco told KTVU that in accordance with its 2002 charter to protect children, it sent letters to hundreds of St. Cecilia parishioners, disclosing the allegations.

"I just reserve judgment," said Lida Allen, a St. Cecilia parishioner. "I don't want to talk about it. I'm surprised by it."

The archdiocese said all clergy are aware of the investigation and the rest of the Catholic community will be notified through the next issue of its weekly newspaper, where it will ask people to report allegations of abuse involving Keohane to the church or to the San Francisco District Attorney's Office.

Keohane has served at several parishes in the Bay Area such as Burlingame's St. Catherine, Belmont's Immaculate Heart of Mary, San Mateo's St. Bartholomew and Novato's St. Anthony.

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