UPDATE: Oklahoma priest convicted of sex crime removed from parish
By Lorne Fultonberg
April 26, 2016
LAWTON, Okla. – A priest working in a southwest Oklahoma parish, despite pleading guilty to sexual battery, has been removed from his post.
In a statement obtained by NewsChannel 4, Archbishop Paul Coakley said he made the decision after learning “new information” about the allegations against Fr. Jose Alexis Davila.
“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 School,” Coakley said. “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 procedures.”
Davila was convicted of his crime in 2012, when he was working in San Diego.
He arrived in Lawton in Dec. 2015, despite his record, having been deemed “fit to minister.”
The Archbishop and clergy at Blessed Sacrament told NewsChannel 4 Davila “accepted the consequences of his lapse in judgement,” adding the diocese had thoroughly vetted the Venezuelan priest.
Others told NewsChannel 4 the incident in Davila’s past was an accident and a misunderstanding, and that they believed he made his guilty plea to forgo a potentially embarrassing trial.
The Archbishop did not elaborate on the “new information” brought to light, but the Survivor Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) posted this statement online.
“Oklahoma City Archbishop Paul Coakley is both endangering and misleading his flock and the public. Over the weekend, Coakley released and factually wrong, incredibly deceptive and hurtful statement about the convicted cleric who assaulted a teenager but is being promoted to head three Oklahoma churches.”