LAWTON — A priest who in 2012 pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge involving a young woman has been removed from his role as pastor of several Catholic churches in Oklahoma.
Tuesday, in a prepared statement, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, said the Rev. Jose Alexis Davila was removed from his pastoral work in the archdiocese after more investigation was conducted into the priest's past.
Davila had been serving at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church and St. Mary's Catholic School, both in Lawton, supporting the parish's pastor, the Rev. Michael Chapman. Davila was to eventually become the Lawton church's pastor because Coakley had appointed him to the position effective in June. Davila had been serving in a pastoral role at churches in Elgin, Apache and Sterling as well.
"After a continued investigation by archdiocesan staff, I became aware late Monday of new information regarding the allegations against Father Alexis Davila that made it necessary for me to remove him from pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Father Davila left the archdiocese on Tuesday," Coakley said in his statement.
Diane Clay, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said before coming to Oklahoma, Davila pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in 2012 in San Diego and was sentenced to probation for three years and community service, which he completed.
The San Diego Union Tribune reported in January 2012 that Davila initially pleaded not guilty to three counts of misdemeanor sexual battery stemming from accusations that he inappropriately touched a young woman at his San Diego home.
In 2015, San Diego Superior Court granted Davila a petition for relief, which officially withdrew his plea of guilty and dismissed the accusation against him.
The archbishop's full statement Tuesday is as follows:
“After a continued investigation by archdiocesan staff, I became aware late Monday of new information regarding the allegations against Father Alexis Davila that made it necessary for me to remove him from pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Father Davila left the archdiocese on Tuesday.
"I am grateful for the support and cooperation of parishioners, parents, staff and clergy in Lawton and Elgin who met with me today, and for Father Chapman's continued service to the faith community at Blessed Sacrament and Saint Mary's Catholic
"We are committed as an archdiocese to maintaining a safe environment in every parish and institution so that families feel safe and welcome to practice their faith. Consequently, we will continue to review and seek ways to improve our current
"During this Jubilee Year of Mercy, let us be open to God's forgiveness and mercy, and seek His guidance through prayer as we move forward.”