Rev. Michael Keating, popular St. Thomas prof, allegedly abused 13-year-old girl [UPDATE]

Categories: Religion
MichaelKeating.jpg
Rev. Michael Keating
-- Update at bottom --

Today, lawyer Jeff Anderson plans to file a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who claims she was abused when she was a teenage girl by popular priest and St. Thomas professor Michael Keating.

SEE ALSO: St. Paul police reopen child porn investigation aimed at priest Jon Shelley

Keating, notified of the pending lawsuit over the weekend, has taken a voluntary leave of absence from St. Thomas, where he was teaching two classes this semester. He hasn't yet publicly addressed the allegations.

Details about the lawsuit will be disclosed by Anderson during a news conference today, so stay tuned. But a Star Tribune report provides a bit of background:
Keating, 57, is 29 years older than the alleged victim, who Anderson said was 13 when the abuse began. That would mean the alleged abuse began about 15 years ago, before Keating completed his religious studies and was ordained as a priest in 2002...

Anderson said his client reported Keating's actions to the archdiocese, which is not named in the lawsuit, in 2006. He said he would elaborate on the litigation Monday at a news conference, but said it is "deeply troubling" that the archdiocese has kept Keating in ministry.
The Pioneer Press reports that Anderson "will present photos and a statement" from the alleged victim during today's presser.

Here's Keating's bio, via Crisis Magazine:
Fr. Michael Keating is a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. He is Associate Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He received his BA and MA (Education) from the University of Michigan. He has an MA in Theology from the Angelicum in Rome, and a PhD in Modern European Intellectual History from the University of Notre Dame. In addition to teaching, he is the founder and current Director of the Habiger Institute for Catholic Leadership at the University of St. Thomas. Fr. Keating has been involved in many apostolic initiatives, especially with youth and university students, and has been a speaker and retreat director in national and international venues.
Keating gets rave reviews on his Rate My Professors page, with one St. Thomas student who took a class of his last spring writing that Keating "is such a wonderful teacher and priest!" Another writes that he is "Easily the best professor at UST," and a third says it's "Hard to conceive how he's not one of the best teachers in the country."

:::: UPDATE ::::

MPR interviewed the woman Keating allegedly sexually abused. In a report published today, she said that in the late 1990s, when the abuse allegedly took place, Keating was a regular guest at her family's Sunday dinners.

The woman, whose name isn't disclosed in the lawsuit (which was officially filed today) or the MPR report, says Keating would sometimes abuse her after dinner while she sat on his lap and he read books aloud. (Update -- the Strib reports that the woman is now 28, married, and living in the Twin Cities. The woman told the Strib Keating gave her his car shortly after she first confronted him about the abuse in 2004.)

"I would be abused behind the book, behind Narnia," she told MPR.

More from MPR:
She said that when Keating left to attend school in Rome, he kissed her on the lips to say goodbye. It was her first kiss.

Keating's alleged advances left her confused, she said. "I remember thinking I must be perverted for thinking this is wrong," she said.

It wasn't until college that she realized that Keating's behavior wasn't her fault, she said.
The woman says the abuse, which took places from the ages of 13 to 15, left her so traumatized that she went through a suicidal stretch in college. She eventually told her family about the abuse, and her family notified the archdiocese. Then a whole new struggle began.

From MPR:
Before the case went before the clergy review board, Sawyer and other church officials asked her to tell her story over and over again, she said. At first, she agreed, but it soon became overwhelming, she said. "For me to just say I was abused by Michael Keating wasn't enough," she said...

No detail escaped scrutiny. Someone asked whether Keating's penis was erect when he touched her. "I was like, does it matter?" she said.

She left the review board meeting with a familiar, terrible ache. "I felt like I was traumatized again by that," she said. "I just felt numb."

A few months later, the clergy review board reached its conclusion. Keating didn't do it.

"Based on the record as a whole, the Board finds that there is insufficient evidence to support a finding of sexual abuse of a minor in violation of the Charter," [Greta Sawyer, the woman's archdiocese-appointed advocate], explained in a letter to the woman's family member.
With the archdiocese refusing to take action, the woman, who still describes herself as Catholic, told MPR she's proceeding with a lawsuit because "I feel that it's my responsibility to say something to break the silence."

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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39 comments
jorgenschmitski
jorgenschmitski

Did they really want him to avoid contact with young people because of a "risk" or did they do it so it wouldn't come back to bite them?

They looked it over 7 yrs ago....the Police also did all their research and found that they couldn't charge him with anything.  So if he was found innocent - why can't he do his job?  Isn't that how our system is supposed to work?

Why did she wait 7 yrs and then file a "money" lawsuit?  Does that make sense?

I have an eight yr old.  He will barely sit on my lap much less anyone else.  He is heavy - how much heavier is a 13-15 yr old.   That is odd.   

I am looking at the facts and they don't add up.

anonymous12
anonymous12

Shame on all of you who are taking Fr. Keating's side and belittling the victim. You have no way of knowing that he is innocent. What if this were your daughter, sister, or  friend? She is not trying to fill her pockets, rather, is trying to expose him for the wolf in sheep's clothing that he is. The Archdiocese brushed it off when she first came to them; what else is there to do other than file a lawsuit against him?! He is a risk to others, and should not have been allowed to work with young people. In the initial report the Archdiocese gave her it said Keating was supposed to avoid counseling and ministering to young people; he blatantly violated that by working as a professor and also working closely with the St. Paul's Outreach program at St. Thomas. We as Catholics need to stop playing the "persecution" card, and look at the facts in this case. 

contact185
contact185

Good grief.

This sure looks like a lame, bogus, money-grabbing lawsuit.

She contemplated suicide because a guy gave her a good-bye kiss on the lips years earlier?

She sat on a man's lap in an open living room at age 15 and calls it abuse?

C'mon ...

debbrunsberg
debbrunsberg

Another vulture thinking they can make a dime off of the church. Two years Keating read to her and fondled her, in her parents home, with them there and no one noticed? What a crock. Typical though to publically attack the accused when the accuser won't even give her real name.  If she is a faithful Catholic, she well knows the penalty for bearing false witness. May God have mercy upon her soul.  The Catholic Church is relentlesly attacked and there is a reason for it. She is the last hold out following the will of God.  The enemy hates that and uses everyone, usually without their knowledge.

Jennifer
Jennifer

So far, sadly, MPR hasn't uncovered anyone innocent that the Archdiocese has been hiding. That isn't a witch trial, its bringing justice, healing, and protecting innocents in the future. If the archdiocese wasn't doing anything wrong, the lawyer wouldn't have a case. That's not his fault, it's theirs.

mjmom4life
mjmom4life

Weird, he was at Notre Dame until 1998 and then in Italy? But he was at their home on Sundays?

The police investigated this and didn't bring charges.

But it's very easy to go to the media about the Catholic Church, where these priests will be found guilty by the public even when the police didn't bring charges.

Shame on Jeff Anderson. He must have a HUGE chip on his shoulder.

I have no sympathy for predatory sex offenders, my own child was horrifically abused by a family friend. What did I do? Went to the police immediately! It was investigated, evidence obtained, arrested, guilty plea within 6 weeks.

Go to the police when a child reports this.

dante
dante

What Jeff Anderson is doing is so wrong.... seems like the Salem Witch Hunts.  What innocent person will be next??

In 2006 the family tried to accuse Father Keating but there was NOTHING on him.  

I can't wait until he is found innocent!  It is just a shame that his character will be ruined due to this malicious slander.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thank God she is talking. As an alumna of UST's Catholic Studies program where Keating taught, I am OUTRAGED that they knew about this allegation and did nothing to protect us. Priests in that program have unusual access to young, female, students who revere and trust their priests. Poorly, poorly, done Fr. Keating, ArchSPM, and UST. 

Mostly, I am so sorry for the victim- this is not her fault and she deserves justice. I am glad she is doing this!

andymacop
andymacop

Note well that if there is evidence (photos) it would have been used in the criminal investigation, which is omitted in this article. The police found nothing worth moving forward in prosecution years ago (2006) and they are not too quick to leave a child molester on the streets. This is another money-making scheme from Jeff Anderson. A man who has made it is personal job to destroy the Church, yet says nothing about the endless reports of child abuse in the public schools. Why? No payday! He can't sue them. But he can sue the Church, which is his gravy train, no matter if the case is legit or not. And I would kindly ask those who hate the Church for just such cases, please do not legitimize this nonsense by believing every case brought by this man has merit. And at least be honest enough to wonder why the public teachers and schools do not get the same treatment. Anything less is pure hypocrisy 

Ryan Schoen
Ryan Schoen

Wtf is wrong with Priests! Leave these kids alone & rot in hell!

Stuttering John
Stuttering John

Narnia has long been known as a catalyst for unchecked sexual aggression.

sthoudek
sthoudek

Why would a 13 year old sit on a 42 year old mans lap to listen to a book being read?   Anybody else find that part of the story weird?

Stan Walsh
Stan Walsh

turn your backs on the church, run

sunburst
sunburst

Aaron Rupar must have edited his article. He originally stated in his article that the alleged victim was now 20 years old and will be at the presser. That has now been removed.

Emily Koppes
Emily Koppes

Where does it say she's 20? (unless they edited the article already?) As far as I can tell, they don't give an age, except you can infer that she is 28 from the 13+15.

Christin Urbanski
Christin Urbanski

For example how is she only 20 when you state this happened 15 years ago when she was 13?

Christin Urbanski
Christin Urbanski

My brother pointed out that either your math is very wrong (things dont add up correctly) or your wording isnt good. I know you arent the New York Times but maybe check into it

sunburst
sunburst

Please proof your article. The math does not add up if the alleged victim is 20 years old.

anonymous12
anonymous12

@debbrunsberg How can you can you call a victim of sexual abuse a "vulture"? Perhaps if you were faithful a Catholic, you wouldn't be so quick to judge... especially on something you have no idea about. If you found out a priest that was a close family friend had been molesting and kissing your 13 year old daughter, I think you would be a little more sympathetic. The victim came to the archdiocese and they did nothing, the police said there wasn't enough evidence. How can you provide evidence that you were molested? Pretty tough if you ask me. This woman is trying to protect others from Keating, how else is she supposed to go about seeing that he is removed from ministry than exposing him to the public??

Jennifer
Jennifer

There was a 2 year gap. What 'proof' do most people have of having been molested? There are no pictures. It doesn't mean he is innocent. She was a young girl! She was embarrassed, ashamed, and afraid -it took time. She deserves our compassion not meanness.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@dante People like you are why so many kids were molested over the years.  You enable evil.  The Catholic Church has lost all credibility when it comes to sex abuse.  They still do everything they can to protect pedophiles.  The more you put in prison the better.  

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@andymacop People like you are why pedophiles find such easy prey in the Catholic church.   Evil enablers like you always post on these stories and lie.  Jesus is watching you stand with pedophiles creep.   

Anonymous
Anonymous

@sthoudek Priests can be like family members. 13 seems like a bit old for that, but if he had been a family friend for years, it might not have been noticed.

VanessaMpls3121
VanessaMpls3121

@TBC_1109 As someone who who knows a lot about sex abuse priest litigation...the church has covered up things like this for decades. Decades

atrupar
atrupar moderator

@sunburst Yes, I removed the reference to the victim's age because as a commenter pointed out below, the math didn't add up. Thanks.

andymacop
andymacop

@MicheleBachmann Please point out the lie. Is it a lie that this case was discarded by the police for lack of credibility? Please respond to my actual comment and please do look up the word 'pedophile' while you are at it. 

Let me say this again, the police everywhere do not quickly leave an abuser on the streets. Ask any cop. I will leave the Archdiocesan review board out of this because many here will think they are part of the problem. But you are basically calling the police inept and stupid. 

Your ad hominum  attack proves you have no argument. Name calling and gross accusations of lying are the tactics of tyrants and bullies. You are better than that and you know it. 

Let me reverse the argument: People like you are why pedophiles find such easy prey in the public school system. You refuse to address this obvious problem by diverting attention away from it to a case that found no merit in police investigation and the courts. Yet the public school abusers continue on undaunted. Jesus is certainly watching you, friend. 

andymacop
andymacop

 @Anonymous Please respond to what I posted. There is no listing of a victim. There is a plaintiff, but had there been an actual victim, there would have been an arrest and a trial and Fr. Keating would now be in prison. This is still America, where one is innocent until proven guilty. You should be angry with the police who investigated this case and with Jeff Anderson who is apparently holding some damning evidence that will prove Keating guilty. Sounds like he is shielding the abuser! One needs to wonder why! 

sthoudek
sthoudek

@Anonymous @sthoudek But even if they were like family, she was about 13 and sitting on his lap?  That is weird.  Maybe if she was 5, 6, 7.

MicheleBachmann
MicheleBachmann topcommenter

@andymacop  You are such a creepy weirdo.  I have nothing in common with you because I don't defend and excuse teaches when they are accused of sex crimes.  Neither does school leadership.   The entire Catholic hierarchy did what they could to cover up and enable sex abuse to continue.  Creepy pedophile enablers like you help them do that.   You are an evil mean little creep that tries to help priests molest kids by spreading your lies and nonsense.   

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