Diocese of Alexandria Priest Dismissed after Misconduct Allegations
By Melissa Gregory
February 11, 2016
A priest who worked in the LaSalle and Grant parishes area has been dismissed after being accused of sexual misconduct with a girl in the Baltimore area, according to a release.
A release from the Diocese of Alexandria on Thursday states that the Rev. Antonio Jorge Velez, a member of the Tertiary Capuchins, has been dismissed and prohibited from living within the diocese. The action was taken by the Most Rev. Ronald P. Herzog, bishop of Alexandria.
Herzog made the decision "after the Diocese of Alexandria was made aware of these allegations resulting from a time when Velez was stationed in the Archdiocese of Baltimore for some 10 years and was accused of inappropriate behavior with a female minor," reads the release.
The release states that the Archdiocese of Baltimore has notified police and also will be conducting their own investigation. The Holy See also is being notified of the decision.
Velez holds citizenship in the U.S. and Colombia. According to the Diocese of Alexandria, Velez has served in Baltimore, Alexandria and "in numerous assignments in Colombia." In the Diocese of Alexandria, Velez was the pastoral administrator of St. Mary Church in Jena and St. Edward in Fishville, reads the release.
"During this difficult time, I ask for your prayers for all who are affected by these accusations: victims, their families, the church here and in Baltimore, his religious order and the accused," wrote Herzog. "I urge any victim of clerical sexual misconduct to allow us the opportunity to help heal the wounds inflicted through such actions, and I invite any victims to come forward in order that healing may begin and justice can be served."