Archdiocese of Mobile OKs leave of absence for priest accused of sexual misconduct

WKRG-TV, CBS-42 [Mobile AL]

April 22, 2024

By Summer Poole

The Archdiocese of Mobile has approved a Catholic priest’s request for a leave of absence after he was accused of sexual misconduct and harassment, News 5 has learned.

The archdiocese announced this approval on Monday, April 22 on their Facebook page.

73-year-old Rev. David J. Tokarz, the pastor of Our Savior Parish, was arrested April 13 on a charge of sexual misconduct and harassment, according to previous reporting.

News 5 received a copy of the official complaint, which alleged Tokarz approached a woman and “initiated unwanted touching.”

According to the complaints filed in Mobile Municipal Court, two incidents allegedly occurred: one on March 2 and the other on March 6.

On March 2, the complaint alleges, “David Joseph Tokarz engaged in sexual conduct with the victim (name redacted) by hugging her but when he released her from the hug he rubbed his hands on the side of her breasts and patted her breasts as well.”

On March 6, the complaint stated, Tokarz allegedly engaged in “unwanted touching by kissing her on the lips after a meeting in his rectory which caused her to be alarmed.”

The day news of the allegations broke, News 5 reached out to the Archdiocese, which released this statement:

“The Archdiocese of Mobile is aware that misdemeanor charges have been brought against Fr. David Tokarz, Pastor of Our Savior Church in Mobile, by an adult woman. Since this is an active legal matter, questions about the charges should be referred to Fr. Tokarz’s attorney.

“We ask for your prayers for all affected by this situation.”

News 5 has also contacted Tokarz’s attorney, Jeff Deen. We haven’t heard back from him.

In the interim, Our Savior parishioners won’t be without a priest.

Rev. Msgr. William J. Skoneki will serve as the church’s parochial administrator while “remaining as Rector of the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception,” the Facebook post said.

That change became effective April 20, according to the post.,harassment%2C%20News%205%20has%20learned.&text=The%20archdiocese%20announced%20this%20approval,22%20on%20their%20Facebook%20page.