Catholic priest from Converse removed from duties due to sexual abuse allegations

Father Alejandro Ortega removed from St. Monica’s Church; congregation informed during Sunday Mass

File image of a Catholic priest. (File image)

CONVERSE, Texas – A priest has been removed from St. Monica’s Church in Converse following allegations of sexual abuse of a child, according to San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller.

A letter written by García-Siller was read to the congregation during a mass service on Sunday at St. Monica’s Church, which was also livestreamed on Facebook, to announce the allegations against Father Alejandro Ortega and his removal.

“It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I inform you of substantiated allegations of sexually inappropriate physical contact with a minor by Father Alejandro Ortega. The child reported this inappropriate contact during a teen ACTS retreat,” García-Siller said in the letter. “The parish notified the parents of the teen and reported the matter to the archdiocese, who also informed the Bexar County District Attorney’s Special Crimes Division of the allegation.”

Based on the report and the Archdiocesan Review Board’s recommendations, García-Siller said he opened a preliminary canonical investigation and asked Ortega to “refrain from ministry.”

An independent private investigator also assisted in the investigation.

García-Siller said there was “sufficient evidence” of the sexual abuse allegations and the review board decided that Ortega could pose risks to other minors and should not be returned to the ministry.

“Because of this, I have removed Father Ortega’s faculties and have prohibited him from exercising any priestly ministry and from using clerical clothes or clerical titles during the course of the canonical process,” the letter reads.

García-Siller commended the child for coming forward about the abuse.

Anyone else who has been a victim of sexual abuse within the Archdiocese is urged to contact the police and the Office for Victim Assistance and Safe Environment at 210-734-7786.

About the Author:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for WICS/WRSP 20 in Springfield, Illinois.