Former Texas Catholic priest arrested in El Paso on sexual assault of a child charge
By Daniel Borunda
El Paso Times
June 11, 2018
El Paso police arrested a former Texas priest who, during an El Paso Catholic Diocese investigation last year, allegedly admitted to sexually abusing a child.
Miguel Luna, 68, was arrested Monday afternoon in front of his home in the 3500 block of Keltner Avenue in Northeast El Paso, police said. He was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to jail records.
Luna is being held on a $50,000 bond.
Police said the arrest came after a investigation by the Crimes Against Children Unit into allegations by a woman who said she was repeatedly sexually abused by Luna when she was a child. It is not clear if the woman is the same person who was part of the investigation by the diocese.
Police said that the alleged sexual abuse spanned several years in the 1990s, ending only after the girl moved away.
Officials with the diocese could not immediately be reached for comment on Monday.
El Paso Catholic Diocese Bishop Mark J. Seitz last year had a news conference regarding a church investigation that found alleged sexual misconduct by Luna involving a girl.
Seitz said Luna had allegedly admitted to sexual misconduct with a girl in the 1980s. He said that the diocese investigation began in late 2016 when the girl, who is now an adult, came forward.
Church officials did not disclose at which parish the sexual misconduct occurred, saying that they were trying to protect the victim's privacy.
"Any act of sexual abuse is reprehensible, immoral and criminal," Seitz said in August. "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."
Seitz said that the diocese informed the El Paso Police Department about the Luna case, but the victim had not contacted police at that time.
"I’m deeply sorry for the pain caused by these actions by Miguel Luna and ask those who know of other situations of misconduct or abuse to please inform law enforcement and the diocese," Seitz said.
Seitz said Luna told the diocese that there were no other cases of sexual misconduct, but that the diocese felt that "there is a chance" there might be more victims.
The diocese was in the process of laicization, or the formal removal under church canon law of Luna from the clergy, the bishop said last summer.
It was not immediately known Monday whether Luna had been formally removed from the clergy.
Luna had been removed from the ministry since 2013 after an inquiry by the Diocesan Review Board into other sexual harassment allegations against him.
Luna was ordained in July 1982, and had served in several El Paso churches, including Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi, Our Lady of Assumption, San Antonio de Padua and St. Pius, among others.
Luna also worked in four other towns in West Texas.
Anyone with information about possible victims or who may have witnessed possible abuse by Luna is asked by police to call the Crimes Against Children Unit at 212-0382.
Parishes where Miguel Luna worked
Blessed Sacrament in El Paso
Our Lady of Assumption in El Paso
Our Lady of Peace in Alpine, Texas
San Antonio de Padua in El Paso
St. Joseph Mission in Fort Davis, Texas
St. Mary Mission in Marathon, Texas
St. Matthew in El Paso
St. Pius X in El Paso
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Thomas/St. Joseph in Kermit, Texas