Msgr. Patrick O’Keefe – Diocese of Orange

Monsignor Patrick O’Keefe

Diocese of Orange

Ordained: 1959

Removed: 1994

Laicized: 2006

Assigned as follows:

  • 1960-1965      St. John The Evangelist (San Diego, CA)
  • 1966-1974      St. Charles Borromeo (San Diego, CA)
  • 1975-1976      St. Adelaide (Highland, CA)
  • 1977                St. Joseph Church (Loma Linda, CA)
  • 1978-1983      St. Peter and St. Paul (Alta Loma, CA)
  • 1984-1986      Unknown
  • 1987-1990      Junipero Serra House of Formation (Riverside, CA)
  • 1990-1992      St. Margaret Mary Church (Chino, CA)
  • 1993                Unknown
  • 1994                Holy Family Church (Hesperia, CA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Monsignor Patrick O’Keefe:

According to media reports, Monsignor Patrick O’Keeffe, a Native of Ireland, served Southern California for nearly thirty years before being appointed Monsignor in 1988. He served as Monsignor for several years before having his faculties removed in April 1994. According to records Monsignor O’Keeffe was dismissed from all parish duties after a lawsuit alleging sexual misconduct was settled by the Diocese of San Diego. 

Monsignor O’Keeffe and the church also faced a separate civil lawsuit containing accusations of sexual abuse from more than a dozen girls and women.

In the second case, a woman accused Monsignor O’Keeffe of molesting her at a Chula Vista church in 1958. He was targeted in two other lawsuits, which accused him of molesting two girls in Chula Vista in the late 1950s and a 14-year-old student at St. Margaret Mary School in Chino in 1990.

In 2002, Monsignor O’Keeffe was criminally charged with 15 counts of child abuse with a 17-year-old girl at St. Adelaide Catholic Church in Highland in 1972. The suit states that he admitted in a letter that he molested her and other girls at various parishes in San Diego and San Bernardino. According to court documents, over several months, he introduced the girl to oral sex, then intercourse, all while professing his love and promising to leave the clergy and marry her. Then he dumped her, leaving the girl confused, angry, alienated from her faith and family. He left her with severe psychological scars. Her father, who had befriended Monsignor O’Keeffe and became a priest himself after her mother died, did not speak to her for years after she disclosed her secret to him in 1992.

Monsignor O’Keeffe returned to Ireland days before a warrant was issued for his arrest. The charges were dropped in 2003 after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a California law that had extended the statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases. He was laicized in 2006.

In March 2007, Monsignor O’Keeffe was included on the Diocese of San Diego’s list of 38 priests in which the Diocese has received a credible allegation involving sexual abuse of a minor. The Diocese of San Diego filed bankruptcy one day before the civil trial. The claims were settled in September 2007 for $198.1 million. His personnel file was released in October 2010.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Orange.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Orange, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Orange now have legal options to recover damages due to a compensation fund created for victims.  Call us at (888) 283-9922 or send an email to adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.