Lawton Priest Removed From Parish After History of Sex Crimes Revealed
Fr. Jose Alexis Davila had been serving at the church since December of 2015. When introduced to the church, it was never revealed that he had been charged with sex crimes only a few years before. Though only pleading guilty to misdemeanor battery in 2012, originally Davila had been charged with three counts of sexual battery after allegedly touching a 19-year-old female in three areas against her will at his former parish in San Diego.
After pleading guilty to the lesser misdemeanor charge, the church in San Diego reinstated Davila and said he was 'fit to minister.' He served three years probation for the conviction and 150 hours of community service. In 2015, Davila petitioned to have his plea withdrawn and his guilty verdict set aside.
It was after that that he was introduced as the new priest in Lawton. According to KFOR, the church never mentioned his criminal past or even his last job, to the new parish. All they said was that "he has pastoral experience in the United States."
When the news broke of Davila's criminal past and history with the church, church officials defended his post at first but changed their opinions later. According to KFOR, Archbishop Paul Coakley said that 'new information' led to the change and dismissal of Davila saying "We are committed as an archdiocese to maintaining a safe environment in every parish and institution so that families feel safe and welcome to practice their faith. Consequently, we will continue to review and seek ways to improve our current procedures."
The Archbishop addressed the congregation on Tuesday night and answered questions about the new events.