Fr. John Charles Keith – Diocese of San Diego

Father John Charles Keith 

Diocese of San Diego

John Charles Keith Diocese of San Diego Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1956

Retired: 1990

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 Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father John Charles Keith: 

Father John Charles Keith was ordained as a Jesuit priest in 1956, who served in multiple parishes in the Diocese of San Diego. He was incardinated in 1961. According to media reports, he was named in lawsuit alleging the sexual abuse of a 12-year-old altar boy at St. Martin’s Church in La Mesa. The victim said the Father 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 Father Keith admitting no wrongdoing. 

Father 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, Fr. Keith was informed that he could no longer celebrate mass or present himself as a priest. He died in May 2003. 

In March 2007, his name was included in the Diocese of San Diego’s list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors. 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, Father Keith asked him to masturbate him, and the boy did. He also said he slept naked with Father Keith at the priest’s request. The suit claimed that the San Diego diocese knew of Father 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.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of San Diego in California. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in one of California’s Catholic dioceses, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of San Diego now have legal options due to a temporary change in the law, but filing deadlines will apply so do not delay in reaching out to us.  Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in California and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.