U of St. Thomas Priest on Paid Leave after Abuse Allegations

Updated: 10/15/2013 5:01 PM KSTP.com By: Beth McDonough

Father Michael J. Keating
Father Michael J. Keating
Photo: Photo: University of St. Thomas

A popular priest and professor is put on paid leave, just as a sex abuse lawsuit comes to light.

Father Michael J. Keating teaches at the University of St. Thomas.

On Monday, he was named in a lawsuit that claims he had sexual contact with a minor -- when he was 42 -- and she was 13.  This isn't the first time the victim has called out Father Keating. She did once, back in 2006. Now, she's taking her claims of alleged sexual abuse a step further, to court.

With a picture of Father Michael Keating next to him, and a list of allegations in front of him, an attorney speaks for the victim, "she suffered in silence."

"She" is identified only as Jane Doe 20 in court documents. She lays out three years of accusations at the hands of a longtime family friend and spiritual advisor. Including instances of un-permitted, harmful and offensive sexual contact, while she was a minor. 

Another spokesperson for Jane Doe 20 goes on to say, "what Father Keating did to me has caused me indescribable suffering."

The victim complained to police and the Archdiocese in 2006. Keating was never charged criminally and the Catholic Church sent a letter to her family. It concludes there's insufficient evidence and the priests' faculties should not be suspended. 

However, it did recommend Keating should be restricted in activities involving adolescents or young adults, take park in a structured program of coaching and be supervised.

That wasn't enough for the victim. 

When she recently realized Keating is still a minister and a teacher at the University of St. Thomas, Jane Doe 20 tried again, "to expose that he is a risk, seeking to make sure he's removed from any ministry, that his faculties are removed, that he is exposed that the community is warned," says Jeff Anderson her attorney.

Neither the University of St. Thomas where Keating works, or the Archdiocese were named in the suit, or would comment. 

KSTP confirmed Keating took a voluntary leave of absence over the weekend.

We went by what we know is his residence on-campus, he wasn't there Monday.

Jane Doe 20's attorney said he believes there are other victims out there.