Catholic priest in San Antonio arrested on allegations of sexually assaulting woman in her 70s

Rev. George Mbugua Ndungu was reassigned to different churches multiple times since 2017

SAN ANTONIO – A priest who was reassigned to several different churches in the San Antonio Archdiocese was arrested Tuesday for an alleged sex crime involving a woman in her 70s, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said.

The Rev. George Mbugua Ndungu, 42, also known as Father Wanjiru, is charged with aggravated sexual assault after a church employee and parishioner came forward to the archdiocese, which began an investigation before BCSO made the arrest, Salazar said.

Ndungu, a native of Kenya, was assigned to Catholic churches in Bexar County since 2017.

He worked at several churches throughout that time, including Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, St. Gabriel Catholic Church and St. Rose of Lima in San Antonio. Additionally, he was at St. Ann Catholic Church in La Vernia, St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Stockdale, St. Peter and Paul in New Braunfels and St. Thomas the Apostle in Canyon Lake.

BCSO received information on Sept. 19 from the archdiocese after hiring a private investigator to investigate claims of inappropriate behavior.

Salazar said an employee of St. Rose Lima Catholic Church said Ndungu had done something inappropriate to her. The priest was then removed from the church, and a statement was put out to parishioners in case anyone else had other claims.

A woman in her 70s came forward to BCSO and said Ndungu sexually assaulted her on three occasions beginning in November 2022.

“He was a sexual predator,” Salazar said of Ndungu.

Salazar said the woman confided in Ndungu for spiritual guidance and was an active member of the church. He said the woman was vulnerable due to some life circumstances.

“He very much groomed this victim, gained her confidence,” the sheriff said.

Salazar said there may be other victims, and he encouraged anyone with information to contact BCSO at 210-335-6000.

The Archdiocese of San Antonio issued a statement that includes the following:

“The Archdiocese of San Antonio takes seriously any allegation of sexual misconduct. The safety and well-being of all people are very important, and the church’s safe-environment policies seek to protect everyone, most especially children and vulnerable adults. We encourage anyone who is a victim of sexual abuse to contact law enforcement. We also ask that victims contact the archdiocesan Office for Victims Assistance and Safe Environment at (210) 734-7786. Any violation of the code of conduct can be reported through the third-party Archdiocesan Misconduct Hotline at (844) 709-1169.”

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About the Authors:

Ivan Herrera has worked as a journalist in San Antonio since 2016. His work for KSAT 12 and includes covering breaking news of the day, as well as producing Q&As and content for the "South Texas Pride" and "KSAT Money" series.

Alexis Montalbo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.