EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — A priest who once served at El Paso churches has admitted to sexual misconduct with a teenage girl during the 1980s.
Miguel Luna, 67, who served at eight El Paso parishes, was ordained for the Diocese of El Paso on July 1, 1982.
In 2013, Bishop Mark Seitz removed Luna from the ministry upon the recommendation of the Diocesan Review Board.
A spokesperson for the diocese said the recommendation was made because allegations of sexual harassment had been made but not involving a minor.
It wasn’t until last year that a woman who asked to remain anonymous, came forward, saying that Luna had sexually abused her years ago when she was a teenager.
Seitz said the diocese told the woman she could contact authorities about the alleged abuse if she wished to do so.
“We thought it would be important to make this information public for the protection of those that may encounter Luna, and to offer the opportunity for any other victims to come forward,” Seitz said.
Barbara Dorris with The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a national organization committed to stopping abuse within churches, shed light into why it may have taken almost 30 years for the woman to come forward.
“It takes a great deal of courage to come forward and the fear that no one will believe you, that people will get angry at you, especially if you accuse a member of the respected community,” Dorris said.
Seitz issued the following statement:
“Any act of sexual abuse is a reprehensible, immoral and criminal act. While sexual acting out with a
minor by any person is always wrong, it is directly contradictory to the sacrificial love to which a priest has
committed himself before God. I am deeply sorry for the pain caused by these
actions of Miguel Luna and ask those who know of other situations of misconduct or abuse to please
inform law enforcement and the Diocese.”
The diocese is warning people to be careful if they come in contact with Luna and encourages anyone who may have been a victim to come forward.
Diocesan victim’s assistance coordinator, Susan Martinez, can be reached at 915-872-8465.
The diocese also said it has developed a safe environment training program for those who work on behalf of the church, especially those who are in contact with children, youth and vulnerable adults. The program contains information about appropriate and inappropriate behaviors.
Luna has served at the following El Paso churches:
Our Lady of Assumption
Our Lady of Peace – Alpine
San Antonio de Padua
St. Joseph Mission – Ft. Davis
St. Mary Mission - Marathon
St. Pius X
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas/St. Joseph – Kermit