OK--Convicted sex offender in OK Catholic church’ Victims respond
For immediate release: Friday, April 22, 2016
A priest who vanished after pleading guilty to committing “sexual battery” against and “unlawful sexual touching” of a teenager has just been put in charge of three Oklahoma churches apparently with no warning to parishioners.
This is a stunningly irresponsible and hurtful move by Archbishop Paul Coakley.
In 2012, Fr. Jose Alexis Davila was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to stay away from a 19-year-old he victimized in the San Diego Diocese. Catholic officials there were harshly criticized for putting him back in a parish after he admitted his guilt.
Later that year, Fr. Alexis Davila was gone.
But late last month, Coakley said he was putting Fr. Alexis Davila at Saint Ann Church in Elgin, Mother of Sorrows Church in Apache, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Sterling. Since December 2015, Fr. Alexis Davila has apparently worked at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Lawton, OK.
Archbishop Coakley should immediately reverse himself and ban this priest from his archdiocese. He should go to all four of these parishes, explain his recklessness, and beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered sex crimes or misdeeds by Fr. Alexis Davila to call police.
And Coakley should be disciplined and denounced by Catholic officials in Rome and on the church’s abuse panel (the National Review Board). Three prelates in particular should take action: Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley (the pope’s top advisor on abuse), Louisville Kentucky Archbishop Joseph Kurtz (head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops) and Juneau Alaska Bishop Edward Burns (head of the USCCB’s abuse committee).
Our hearts ache for every person who was hurt by Fr. Alexis Davila and for every parishioner – in California and Oklahoma – who feels betrayed by the irresponsible actions by their church officials. Our heart also aches for former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, who will no doubt be deeply upset, but not surprised, by Fr. Alexis Davila’s presence in the state. More than a dozen years ago, Keating worked hard to persuade bishops to show more courage and compassion in clergy sex cases. He must be very frustrated.
No matter what church officials do or don’t do, we urge every single person who saw, suspected or suffered child therapists, expose wrongdoers by calling law enforcement, get justice by calling attorneys, and be comforted by calling support groups like ours. This is how kids will be safer, adults will recover, criminals will be prosecuted, cover ups will be deterred and the truth will surface.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
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.