Defrocked Alabama Catholic priest who fled to Italy with 18-year-old girl may be under criminal investigation now

Published 2:27 pm Thursday, August 10, 2023

The investigation into a now defrocked Catholic priest who left the country with an 18-year-old Alabama girl has now turned into a criminal one, local media reported, because investigators believe the priest was communicating with the girl while she was a student.

FOX 10 TV News reported that former priest Alex Crow sent a love letter to the teen on Valentine’s Day while she was still a student at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile County.

Crow was defrocked in July by the Catholic Church for reportedly abandoning his post. He and the teen were found late last month in Italy by one of her relatives.

FOX 10 quoted Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch saying that the discovery of the Valentine’s love letter “really changed” their investigation as it provided there was a relationshp between the two before she had graduated.

The girl’s parents have reportedly traveled to Italy in attempts to encourage their daughter to return to Mobile, but the girl and the priest have no plans to return, the sheriff said.

Crow was widely known to have studied the history of demons and demonic exorcisms. Investigators believe the pair may have traveled to Italy to perform an exorcism on the girl.

The sheriff told the new station that the investigation continues and that they believe additional female students were involved.

Officials with McGill-Toolen Catholic High School released a statement late last month about the incident:

“We were all stunned by the recent news regarding Alex Crow.”

“Contrary to what was reported, Mr. Crow was never employed by McGill-Toolen CHS. We welcome our priests to visit Theology classes and hear confessions when they can.”

“Mr. Crow did visit some Theology classrooms, and hear confessions during the period, September through December 2021. He also celebrated one school Mass that year. He has not chaperoned any school trips or retreats. We will continue to pray for the families involved and are looking forward to the start of another great year.”

Sheriff Burch told WKRG-TV that he believed Crow seemed to have groomed the student and that investigators believe he’d made attempts to do that with at least one other student.