Priest Arrested in Connection with Sex Assault

10 News
January 5, 2012

[with video]

SAN DIEGO -- A Catholic priest who ministers at a Southcrest church is facing a sexual assault charge and is accused of forcing himself on a 20-year-old woman at his home, authorities reported Tuesday.

Jose Davila – who is also known as Father Alexis – is an associate pastor at St. Jude's Shrine of the West on Boston Avenue. He turned himself in to San Diego police on Sunday, two days after the alleged crime, SDPD Lt. Anastasia Smith said.

"Mr. Davila voluntarily turned himself in to the sex crimes detectives," said Smith.

He is accused of assaulting the woman – whom he has known for several months – while she was visiting his residence Friday morning, according to Smith.

The alleged victim went home and told her family about the alleged assault and then called the police to file a report.

Officials declined to say if the woman is a member of Davila's congregation.

Davila was booked into county jail on suspicion of sexual assault. He was released on bail about 12:30 a.m. Monday, a jail clerk said.

Humberto Morales, who has known the priest for almost a decade, told 10News he refuses to believe the allegations are true.

"I am very sure everything is incorrect… what the people say," he said.

When asked if it concerned him that Davila turned himself in, Morales replied, "It's a concern to me, yes, because he's the big leader. He's a very good priest."

Other parishioners expressed the same disbelief.

"How can I… believe this situation… now that I know Father Alexis? I know him," said Mary McColley, who spoke in defense of the priest. "It's really shocking... this situation. I'm really upset."

Maria Roberts, general counsel for the Diocese of San Diego, told 10News, "We are cooperating with the investigation and doing our own internal investigation. We cannot comment beyond that."


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