Convicted predator quietly put back in SD parish
- Convicted predator quietly put back in SD parish
- He pled guilty to unlawful sexual touching
- Yet, months later, he's back around kids, teens
- Victim and her family were subject to "lynch mob"
- SNAP: "Bishop breaks promises & endangers parishioners"
A Catholic priest who was convicted of trying to sexually assault a 20-year-old woman earlier this year has quietly been put back to work in a San Diego parish.
Clergy sex abuse victims want him removed. They fear he may assault other vulnerable young women.
According to the parish website, Fr. Jose Alexis Davila is now the Associate Pastor at St. Jude’s Catholic Church (3785 Boston Ave, San Diego, CA 92113, 619-264-2195). A concerned parishioner alerted a support group called SNAP, (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) to the assignment. http://stjudesd.com/uploads/486700_May_06_2012.pdf
Today, leaders of SNAP are writing San Diego Bishop Brom and and his successor Bishop Crillo Flores, urging them to oust Davila.
“These Catholic officials are basically telling employees that ‘If you try to rape a woman, we’ll still give you a job – but quietly - even if you’re convicted in court,'" said Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director.
Fr. Davila was arrested in January 2012 for attempting to sexually assault a 20-year-old woman who attended church at St. Jude's Shrine of the West in Southcrest. http://www.fox5sandiego.com/news/kswb-rev-jose-davila-catholic-priest-arrested-on-suspicion-of-sexually-assaulting-young-woman-20120104,0,7227170.story. He pleaded guilty to battery and "engaging in an unlawful touching of an intimate part of the victim's body" in April and was sentenced to three years' probation. He was also ordered to stay away from the victim. http://www.10news.com/news/30931281/detail.html
Last week, SNAP learned from an anonymous source that Davila was back at the St. Jude's. Calls to the parish confirmed that Davila is currently on the job. As best as SNAP can tell, there was no public announcement that Davila was reinstated.
In a letter sent today to Brom and Flores, SNAP is pushing for Davila’s permanent removal
SNAP is also worried because a state-funded child care center is located at the parish. http://stjudesd.com/Stjudechildcarectr.php
SNAP’s letter urges Brom and his successor to:
-- Immediately remove Davila from the parish
--Put him in a remote, secure, independently run treatment center where he has no contact with women or children,
--Apologize to the victim and her family for their “irresponsible” actions, and
-- Disclose Davila’s presence at the parish to the California State Board of Education, which funds the child care center at St. Jude's parish.
"We were shocked to hear that a convicted predator is back working in a parish," said Casteix. "This should have been a slam-dunk: Davila pled guilty to sexually attacking a vulnerable young woman. He should never work in a parish again, period. That's what the bishops have promised us for the past 10 years. And once again, Brom and his successor Flores have turned their backs on the victims they promised to protect."
SNAP's letter pulls no punches.
"You are violating both the letter and the spirit of your own 2002 abuse 'reforms,'" the letter says. "If Davila can go unpunished for attacking a woman, every woman, including others at and near his parish, are at risk.”
SNAP is also concerned about the treatment of the victim in this case. According to press reports, parishioners harassed her family members, came to her home to try and force her to recant, and kicked her mother out of her Bible study group. Because Davila has been ordered to stay away from the victim, it is unknown if the victim and her family are even able to attend mass at the parish. http://www.10news.com/news/30138281/detail.html
SNAP believes that these actions scare other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers into staying silent.
"When parishioners lashed out at the victim and shunned her mother from the church, you did nothing," the letter says. "Because you are not reaching out and guiding your flock, you are supporting a predator at the cost of his victim and her family and the well-being of others. We hope that the victim is reaching out and getting help and support from organizations and people who care about the welfare for survivors."
The diocese of San Diego is no stranger to sex abuse and cover up. In 2007, the Diocese settled with 144 victims of child sex abuse for $200 million.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/08/us/08church.html Diocese officials had attempted to hide behind bankruptcy protection, but allegations of fraud on the part of the Diocese eventually led to a settlement http://articles.latimes.com/2007/aug/11/local/me-sddiocese11. Documents were released in October 2010 that exposed the scope and scale of the abuse and cover-up http://www.bishop-accountability.org/docs/san_diego/.
The letter, sent via fax and email, is below.
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA, SNAP Western Regional Director, 949-322-7434, firstname.lastname@example.org
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO, SNAP Outreach Director, 314-503-0003, email@example.com
David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP Executive Director, 314-566-9790, firstname.lastname@example.org
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
PO Box 6416
Chicago, IL 60680-6416
June 5, 2012
Most Rev. Bishop Robert Brom
Co-Adjudicator Most Rev. Bishop Cirillo Flores
Diocese of San Diego
3888 Paducah Drive
San Diego, CA
Dear Bishop Brom and Bishop Flores;
We are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We were shocked and disappointed to learn that convicted predator Fr. Jose Alexis Davila - who just two months ago pled guilty to battery and "engaging in an unlawful touching of an intimate part" of a parishioner's body - was back working at St. Jude's Shrine of the West.
You are not only directly jeopardizing the welfare of children and vulnerable adults at the parish, but you are violating both the letter and the spirit of your own 2002 child protection 'reforms.' If Davila can go unpunished for attacking a woman, every woman, including others at and near his parish, are at risk. He pled guilty, but your actions show that you care far more about convicted offenders than innocent victims.
When parishioners lashed out at the victim and shunned her mother from the church, you did nothing. Because you are not reaching out and guiding your flock, you are supporting a predator at the cost of his victim and her family and the well-being of others. We hope that the victim is reaching out and getting help and support from organizations and people who care about the welfare for survivors.
In light of this, we ask that you:
-- Immediately remove Davila from the parish and place him in a job where he has no contact with women or children,
-- Reach out to your parishioners, who are scared and confused and are lashing out at an innocent victim,
-- Reach out to the victim and her family, invite them back to the parish, and apologize for the actions of your flock, and
-- Inform the California State Board of Education, who funds your child care center, that a convicted predator is working at the church
For the sake of children, victims and innocence families, we await your immediate response.
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, CA,
SNAP Western Regional Director, 949-322-7434, email@example.com
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, MO,
SNAP Outreach Director, 314-503-0003, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Clohessy of St. Louis,
SNAP Executive Director, 314-566-9790, email@example.com
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.