The Crime Scene - To Serve and Inform

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 6:26 PM ET, 02/18/2011

Priest sentenced for molesting girl, 11

By Tom Jackman
Tom Jackman

A Catholic priest who pleaded guilty to inappropriately touching an 11-year-old Fairfax County girl last year was sentenced Friday to nine months in jail.

Felix Owino, 45, was arrested in July after visiting a family in Herndon and watching a movie with them. The girl complained that Owino touched her over her clothes.

In September, he pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual battery.

Owino, a native of Kenya, is a member of the Apostles of Jesus missionary congregation, an African congregation of priests and brothers. He had been serving as a philosophy instructor at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia and as an associate pastor at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church in Weirton, W.Va.

His lawyer, Joshua Wilson, said Owino had repeated struggles with alcohol since his ordination in the 1990s and had been forced out of several academic posts because of his drinking.

Owino did not exactly apologize when given the opportunity to speak by Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Michael F. Devine, but instead prayed aloud for several minutes, saying, "Father, I have sinned against heaven, treat me like you do your highest servant. ... Rescue me, God, my helper."

Virginia sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of one day to three months, but Devine said that was not appropriate. He sentenced Owino to five years in prison, suspending all but nine months. He ordered Owino to remain abstinent from alcohol, to register as a sex offender and have no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.

Having already been in jail for seven months, Owino does not have much more time to serve in Fairfax. But he faces likely deportation for the sex conviction, immigration lawyers said.

By Tom Jackman  | February 18, 2011; 6:26 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax, From the Courthouse, Sex Crimes, Tom Jackman, Updates  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Used-car dealership pleads guilty in money case
Next: Loudoun realtor accused in fraud

Comments

"He faces likely deportation..."?

He's a priest and he molested a kid? What the hell do you have to do to get deported from this country? Molest a nun? This is unbelievable!

Posted by: flintston | February 18, 2011 7:47 PM | Report abuse

We applaud the little girl and her mother for calling the police and helping prosecutors get this child predator away from kids, although we are disappointed the judge did not sentence Owino for more time.

Now more than ever, we urge anyone else who has knowledge or has been abused by this priest to contact law enforcement so that kids can be safer.

Owino worked in four dioceses (Pittsburgh PA, Allentown PA, Manchester NH and Wheeling WV) and spent time at three Catholic colleges ( Duquesne University, Magdalen College and Wheeling Jesuit College). His last assignment was pastor of St Paul's parish in Weirton, WV.

Owino is a native of Nairobi, Kenya. His photo and work history is available at http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Owino_Felix_aj.htm

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We've been around for 22 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact: Judy Jones, (636-433-2511, snapjudy@gmail.com,)

Posted by: snapjudy | February 18, 2011 8:36 PM | Report abuse

at least he is molesting little girls and not little boys like the rest of the priests....the alcohol abuse is inline with typical behavior found in the Catholic church.

Posted by: OldSalt8 | February 19, 2011 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"His lawyer, Joshua Wilson, said Owino had repeated struggles with alcohol since his ordination in the 1990s and had been forced out of several academic posts because of his drinking."

This guy knew he had a problem and didn't do anything about it?

Posted by: ceefer66 | February 19, 2011 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I was abused at the age of 11. As I sat in the court room and watched the judge suspend all but 9 months of a 5 year sentence all I could think about is the young girl Owino abused and how the effects of his abuse will last much longer than the 9 months he will serve.

This girl and her parents did everything within their power to protect other children. It took a great deal of courage to bring this child molester to justice. Without their bravery he would still working unexposed. He is now a registered sex offender.
Thank you.
Becky Ianni
SNAPVirginia@cox.net
703-801-6044

Posted by: rianni | February 19, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

The sentencing guidelines for child molestation, rape, and incest are weak. Perpetrators feel unafraid and continue to repeat these crimes based on the leniency they receive during sentencing.

Posted by: hritewing | February 19, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

If judge sentened him to 3 months, then the offender would be deported on Monday. And how is the judge going to enforce the provisions for the suspended sentence after the offender is deported?

The judge just set him free without restrictions into someone else's community.


Posted by: blasmaic | February 19, 2011 1:17 PM | Report abuse

This guy gets 9 months of jail time...a lady in the Baltimore gets 1 year of jail time for stealing library books...go figure!!!!!!

Posted by: pentagon40 | February 19, 2011 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to all of you SNAP members for your hard work in helping priest abuse survivors fight for justice and your diligence in working to prevent future abuse by clerics.

Posted by: FedUpInMoCo | February 20, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Fondle a kid, get nine months.... steal some library books, get 15 years...

God Bless America

Posted by: seendadream | February 21, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

My heart goes out to this girl and her mother.

Please parents - if your child has had contact with this guy, ask them if anything happened. But before asking them, make sure they understand that you will accept any answer they give you - and even still love and support them. Too many times kids won't tell their parents out of perceived fear of how a parent may react.

ASK!

Someone who knows

Dave Lorenz

Posted by: snapbowie | February 21, 2011 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.




characters remaining

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company