Fr. John Charles Keith – Diocese of San Bernardino

Father John Charles Keith

Diocese of San Bernardino

John Charles Keith Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1956

Died: 2003

Assigned as follows:

  • 1957: Alma College (Los Gatos, CA)
  • 1958-1963: St. Joseph’s Cathedral (San Diego, CA)
  • 1959-1962: San Diego College for Men (San Diego, CA)
  • 1960: St. Bernardine’s (San Bernardino, CA)
  • 1961: Our Lady of Fatima (San Bernardino, CA)
  • 1962: Aquinas High School (San Diego, CA)
  • 1963: U.S. Army (San Diego, CA)
  • 1964: St. Anthony’s (National City, CA)
  • 1965:  Aquinas High School (San Diego, CA)
  • 1966-1970: St. Louis’ (Cathedral City, San Diego, CA)
  • 1971-1976: St. Joseph (Barstow, CA)
  • 1977: St. Francis De Sales (Riverside, CA)
  • 1978-1981: St. Charles Borromeo (San Diego, CA)
  • 1982: St. Martin of Tours (La Mesa, CA)
  • 1983: Grossmont, Kaiser, Alvarado Hospital (Grossmont, CA)
  • 1984-1989: Unknown
  • 1990: Little Flower Haven (La Mesa, CA)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father John Charles Keith:

Fr. John Charles Keith was ordained as a Jesuit in 1956 and went to San Diego in 1957; He was incardinated in 1961. According to media reports, a man named him in a 1985 lawsuit alleging sexual abuse when he was a 12-year-old altar boy at St. Martin’s Church in La Mesa, California. In his lawsuit, he said Keith took him out of his elementary school class without his mother’s knowledge and bought him toys. Once alone, he was forced to fondle the priest. His mother said she complained repeatedly to the Diocese of San Diego, but no action was taken. The suit was settled in 1999 for $95,000, despite Keith admitting no wrongdoing. 

Keith retired in 1990. In 1993, he was sent to the St. Luke Institute, an institution known for treating priests accused of child sexual abuse. In 2002, Keith was informed that he could no longer celebrate mass or present himself as a priest.

In March 2007, his name was included in the Diocese of San Diego’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. According to media reports, in 2008, a new suit was filed alleging abuse of a 13-year old boy in 1972 at a church school in Barstow. The suit alleged that he and three other boys went to Palm Springs with Keith. One night, Keith asked him to masturbate him, and the boy did. He also said he slept naked with Keith at the priest’s request. The suit claimed that the San Diego diocese knew of Keith’s history of sexual misconduct in 1972, yet continued to allow him to serve as a priest.

The case was settled in April 2010. In October 2010, as part of a settlement with survivors of clergy sexual abuse, the Diocese of San Diego released his personnel file.

Keith died in May 2003. 

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of San Bernardino. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in San Bernardino, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of San Bernardino 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.