Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A video statement obtained exclusively by WCCO shows a Minnesota woman describing alleged abuse by a Catholic priest.
Her case is part of a growing scandal accusing a cover-up by top officials of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
“You started rubbing my back and you put your hand under my shirt and you were rubbing the skin, skin against skin,” she said in the video.
The woman told WCCO’s Esme Murphy she wanted to make the video public so that people could hear her story in her own words. She made the video in 2006 to present to the archdiocese panel that was investigating her claim of abuse from Keating. In the video she details the abuse, and addresses Keating.
“You pulled me on top of your body so that my belly was against yours,” she said in the video. “And I remember feeling your penis on my leg.”
She said the abuse happened when she was between 13 and 15 years old.
Keating was in his early forties at that time, and a student at the St. Paul seminary school.
He was a close friend of Jane Doe’s family, and a frequent overnight guest at their Chisago County home.
“It wasn’t until I had my first kiss that I realized that what you had done was given me an open-mouthed kiss,” she said.
She said the abuse lead her to consider suicide.
“It has just destroyed me,” she said.
Law enforcement documents said the archdiocese panel that investigated Keating was told that Keating told another priest he had a “passionate encounter” with another 14-year-old girl in Italy.
The panel, led by then-archbishop Harry Flynn, found that there was not enough evidence to remove Keating from the priesthood. The panel did recommend that Keating’s contact with adolescents and young adults be restricted.
At that time and, up until this month, Keating was an archdiocese appointed professor at the University of St. Thomas who was living on campus and sometimes led overnight student retreats.
Flynn and vicar general Kevin McDonough were both on the panel that recommended the restrictions, and both were also trustees at the University of St. Thomas.
Jeff Anderson represents Jane Doe, and he said it appears Flynn and McDonough never told St. Thomas of the restrictions.
“They made a conscious choice to keep him from St. Thomas and conceal it from those that needed to know,” Anderson said.
Immediately after Jane Doe’s lawsuit was filed, both Flynn and McDonough resigned from St. Thomas’ Board of Trustees.
Chisago County authorities declined to prosecute Jane Doe’s claims in 2006.
Keating has taken a voluntary leave, and Keating’s attorney could not be reached for comment. But Keating’s attorney said earlier that claims involving Keating were “discredited years ago.”
The University of St. Thomas declined to comment on this story, and said they are conducting an internal investigation.
WCCO reached out to the archdiocese and didn’t hear back before this story went on air Thursday night.