Priest convicted of sex crime serving in Elgin
“Without excusing or justifying his behavior, I think he can now safely and appropriately return to ministry.”
PAUL S. COAKLEY
ARCHBISHOP OF OKLAHOMA CITY
A priest who was convicted in California of sexual battery and sentenced to three years probation is now serving as administrator at Saint Ann Church, Elgin and missions to Mother of Sorrows Church, Apache, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Sterling. He has been named to become pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Lawton effective June 28.
According to the website of Blessed Sacrament, JosÈ Alexis D·vila was hired here in December and was appointed as administrator of the Elgin parish March 29.
News reports in San Diego state that Davila pleaded guilty to inappropriately touching a 19-year-old woman in 2012 and served three years of probation.
Diane Clay, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, said that Davila had been serving in his hometown parish in Venezuela before returning to Oklahoma to serve in Lawton. Before going to Venezuela he had served in churches in Utah and in the same San Diego parish he served in when he was convicted.
A blog post on the Blessed Sacrament Parish website posted in December said that "Father (JosÈ Alexis D·vila) will be with our parish to assist Father Chapman. Reverend JosÈ A. D·vila was ordained in the Diocese of Cabimas, Venezuela on December 15, 1984. He most recently served as Pastor of Cristo Redentor, in Ojeda, Venezuela. However, he has pastoral experience in the United States. Several years ago Father D·vila's family immigrated to the USA due to political persecution in Venezuela. To avoid any further persecution and to be closer to his family, Father D·vila, with permission of his Bishop in Cabimas, sought to serve in this Archdiocese."
According to Clay, Davila is set to fill the role of Blessed Sacrament pastor left vacant with the sudden death of Shane Tharp Oct. 16, 2015.
In a statement, Paul S. Coakley, the archbishop of the Oklahoma City Diocese said that the church here hired Davila with full knowledge of his background.