Archdiocese adds to list of priests accused of sexual abuse
By Carla Hinton & Randy Ellis
January 22, 2020
The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has revoked the authority of the Rev. Marvin Leven to serve as a priest after substantiating allegations that he had sexually abused parishioners in Enid and Edmond, archdiocese leaders said Tuesday.
Archbishop Paul S. Coakley said an investigation has substantiated allegations that Leven, 94, sexually abused a minor in 1993 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Enid and the same person as a young adult after moving to St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Edmond.
Contacted by phone Tuesday, Leven said: "I'm not aware of what you're talking about."
The investigation by retired Oklahoma City Police detective Kim Davis also substantiated another allegation of "inappropriate behavior with a minor" at the Enid parish, Coakley said in a news release. He said Davis was hired by the law firm McAfee & Taft at the archdiocese's request to investigate older abuse allegations.
Leven retired as a parish priest with the Oklahoma City archdiocese in June 1999 but served as assistant chaplain at Mercy Health Center in Oklahoma City until 2013, Coakley said in his statement. In addition to the parishes in Enid and Edmond, Leven served at Holy Trinity in Okarche, Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Altus, Holy Family Catholic Church in Lawton, Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Tulsa, St. Eugene Catholic Church in Oklahoma City and Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa.
In the investigation, Davis reported that the archdiocese, then led by Archbishop Eusebius J. Beltran, was contacted in 1993 by a former parishioner of St. Francis Xavier who reported allegations of abuse against Leven that started when the man was 15 and recurred when he was a young adult at Edmond's St. John the Baptist. Beltran served as archbishop of the archdiocese from 1992 to 2011. Coakley became archbishop in 2011.
In 1995, as part of the archdiocese's investigation, Leven was sent to St. Luke Institute for an evaluation related to sexual abuse, the archdiocese said. In a letter to the diocese, professionals at the institute stated the allegations were possible and recommended that Leven have no unsupervised contact with minors. They also recommended he seek intensive outpatient psychotherapy.
Tuesday, Coakley said Leven was returned to the parish with the instruction that he "not be permitted to have ministerial contact with minors unless other adults are present." A second allegation of inappropriate behavior with a minor at St. Francis Xavier also was substantiated by the investigation.
Coakley said Davis presented the results of the investigation of Leven to him and the archdiocese's Review Board. The board determined the allegation to be substantiated and recommended that Leven be added to the archdiocese's list of accused priests. Dave Crenshaw, spokesman for the Tulsa Diocese, said Leven has also been added to a similar list of accused priests in the Tulsa Diocese.
Tuesday, Coakley said he has revoked Leven's authority to serve as a priest within the archdiocese.
Report criticized archdiocese's handling of case
Incidents involving Leven were mentioned in McAfee & Taft's report released in October 2019, with his name withheld because the firm's investigation was not yet complete and the allegations against him had not yet been substantiated.
In the report, the law firm criticized the archdiocese's investigation into Leven for failing to interview key witnesses like Leven's rectory maid or other rectory staff and for failing to ask priests who were interviewed follow-up questions after they had provided what appeared to be relevant information.
Archbishop Beltran told the law firm that he thought a thorough investigation of Leven was warranted because he was "well known and quite popular within the archdiocese."
"To the extent that this was the justification for a broad investigation in one instance, and little to no investigation in others, we believe this reflects that the Archdiocese is ill-equipped to conduct its own investigations," the firm said in its report.
To Report Abuse
Report abuse or inappropriate behavior with a minor immediately. Contact local law enforcement, the state Department of Human Services at (800) 522-3511 and the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City's victim assistance coordinator at 720-9878. If a child is in immediate danger, call 911.