The Rev. Michael Keating, sued last year for allegedly sexually abusing a Twin Cities girl more than a decade ago, has resigned from his teaching position at the University of St. Thomas.

Keating, a full-time faculty member in the Department of Catholic Studies at St. Thomas since 2005, took a leave of absence last fall.

The university website posted his letter of resignation Tuesday.

"After careful consideration of my current situation in light of my employment options and long-standing goals, I have decided to resign my faculty position with the University of St. Thomas effective immediately," wrote Keating.

"I have greatly enjoyed my time at the university and take with me fond memories of the St. Thomas community," Keating wrote.

A pending lawsuit filed in Ramsey County District Court in October claims that Keating abused a 13-year-old girl while he was studying to be a priest. Keating allegedly fondled the girl in the home of her family, who were friends of his.

While living in Rome in 1999 and 2000, he sent the girl e-mails expressing his affection for her, some with sexual innuendo.

Keating, 58, has denied any wrongdoing.

In another faculty move, Don Briel, director of the department where Keating worked, retired Aug. 31. Briel had worked at the university more than 30 years and founded the Center for Catholic Studies.

Briel announced his retirement in May, amid a St. Thomas internal investigation into whether he or other faculty members at the university were aware that the archdiocese Clergy Review Board had recommended that Keating not mentor young adults.

It's part of a broader investigation into misconduct by university staff and faculty, both past and present, that is still in progress, said university spokesman Jim Winterer.