January 31, 2019
By Jason Trahan, Matt Howerton
One of the most recently accused priests on the Dallas diocese list was celebrating Mass and hearing confessions at a Duncanville Catholic church just weeks before he was removed over abuse allegations.
Father Alejandro “Alex” Buitrago is listed as retired in 2017 and was “removed” from his job as a priest in 2018, according to the Dallas diocese list released Thursday. There was no exact date of that removal on the list, but a diocese official said he was removed just last month, in December.
WFAA found several online church bulletins – one from June, two from July, and two from September – noting that Fr. Buitrago is a “guest priest” celebrating Mass, sometimes in Spanish, at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Duncanville.
And according to these bulletins, Buitrago was hearing confessions in October and as late as Nov. 17.
The Duncanville church does not appear on Buitrago’s “assignment history” released Thursday by the diocese. When asked why, the diocese said it doesn’t keep track of “guest” appearances by priests, specifically retired ones. Those assignments, they said, are usually scheduled by the local parish priest who may need to fill a spot for Mass or confessions quickly.
Dallas Diocese Bishop Edward Burns told reporters today during a news conference that he would not address questions about specific priests.
Buitrago was ordained in 1967 and served in several parishes before he retired in 2017 and was removed “with faculties suspended” in 2018.
Buitrago told WFAA by phone late Thursday that the “allegations are not true.”
He also said that “there’s no proof.”
Before ending the conversation, Buitrago said he was looking to hire an attorney.
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