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Posted at 6:36 AM ET, 07/13/2010

Priest held on sex charge in Fairfax

By Mike McPhate
Owino. (Courtesy of Fairfax County Police)

A W.Va. priest has been arrested on charges that he sexually abused an 11-year-old girl last week inside a Herndon home, police said.

Fairfax County police responded late last Wednesday to the residence on Franklin Farm Road, where 44-year-old Felix Owino was accused of touching the child “inappropriately,” Officer Bud Walker, a Fairfax police spokesman, said.

Owino was considered a longtime friend of the family, Walker said.

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston in West Virginia suspended Owino as soon as it learned of the arrest, according to a posting on its Web site. Owino was serving as an associate pastor at St. Paul’s in Weirton, W.Va., and as an instructor at Wheeling Jesuit University, the diocese said.

The university said in a statement that Owino drew no complaints from students during his two years on the faculty of the philosophy department. He was on summer break during the alleged abuse, the school said.

“This alleged behavior violates the core of who we are called to be as Christians and as a Jesuit, Catholic campus community whose mission demands that we dedicate ourselves to the care and protection of our students,” Francis Thrailkill, the campus’s interim president, said in a statement.

Before joining Wheeling Jesuit in 2008, Owino taught at Magdalen College in New Hampshire and Alvernia College in Reading, Pa., the school said. He is originally from Nairobi, Kenya.

Owino was charged with one count of aggravated sexual battery and was being held without bond at the Adult Detention Center in Fairfax County. A hearing is set for September 2.

-- Mike McPhate

By Mike McPhate  | July 13, 2010; 6:36 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, Virginia  
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Yet another perv priest in a long dress who likes children.

But he doesn't need to worry...the pope and his minions will white wash the incident and he'll be only mildly reprimanded and can continue abusing kids.

Posted by: checkered1 | July 13, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

This is news? It's pretty much understood at this point that to be a priest, you also must be a child molester. As the saying goes....Dog bites man, News at 11.

Posted by: B-rod | July 13, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

A pedophile priest, say it ain't so!

Posted by: jabreal00 | July 13, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Imagine these were Muslim priests. Imagine that. Religion is so ridiculous. Stop supporting these thugs. The pope is complicit in all of this. Shame on the Catholic church.

Posted by: FiatBooks | July 13, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

He has to feel stupid... thought he could get away with what his white friends in the diocese got away with for centuries.

Posted by: mlee_27 | July 13, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

he is only accused of "touching the child 'inappropriately',” and just charged with "aggravated sexual battery".

I think he deserves a fair trial before any of you angry mobbers burn him at the stake.

Even if he was found guilty of the one charge, its a far cry from rape or indecent exposure or any number of sexually related crimes that are far worse.

Posted by: MarilynManson | July 13, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Everyone is on THIS guy's case but they lambast Eugene Robinson for jumping on Roman Ploanski.

I wonder why...

Posted by: ceefer66 | July 13, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

This brief article doesn't answer the question that comes to my mind, and what I've always wondered. First, seems that being charged with this crime results in a presumption of guilt. but what I've always wondered, is if there has to be corroborating evidence before someone is charged with a crime that will haunt them for the rest of their lives regardless of guilt or innocence. Or is the law written in such a way that all it takes is the accusation of a child? If the latter, I think that's completely insane. They just found that teacher in Fairfax not guilty a month or so ago, and it was apparent to everyone but the prosecutor, that the charges were baseless and the result of a kid basically throwing a temper tantrum by accusing him of the same kind of thing. Tell me there has to be some kind of other evidence besides the accusation of a kid.
I see everyone's pretty much got this guy convicted already, but the only thing I see in the article as evidence of wrongdoing is the kid said so. that's enough to ruin someone's life and possibly sned them to prison?

Posted by: red2million | July 13, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

This is news? It's pretty much understood at this point that to be a priest, you also must be a child molester. As the saying goes....Dog bites man, News at 11.

Posted by: B-rod | July 13, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

It is reprehensible to post something like this when there are thousands of good priests quietly selflessly serving their parishes every day. As the saying goes, Don't tar everyone with the same brush.

Posted by: bodypolitic1 | July 13, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Is this priest guilty ? That has not been ascertained. It is an allegation. Proof awaits? The child abuse game can play both ways. Let's get the evidence first ( no psychobabble )

Posted by: peterroach | July 13, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Let's have a little reality check please. 4% of priests have been accused of abuse. 4%. Think of that before you tarnish the vocation of the priesthood.
Each individual who has ever abused a child should rot in jail and hell.

Posted by: me21 | July 13, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Right on red2million. I read about both cases and share your viewpoint. Actually I've always felt that in crimes involving sexual mis-conduct that the identities of BOTH the accused and the victim should be protected until the accused is convicted. This type of crime or accusation carries a stigma that can follow a person for life. There have been at least two cases in this area involving a teacher/coach that was accused of this crime. The coach if I remember correctly after decades of working decided to retire even though the charges were dropped. In that incident he made a female student mad and she along with some of her friends concocted a story that will forever place a cloud of doubt over his head.

Posted by: clintonguy | July 13, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Not so fast. This priest is being accused of something that has not been proven yet. It is just a one sided story coming from the mouth of a child whose sole purposes maybe to sue the church for compensation. Making a valid conclusion of his guilt at this time is inappropriate.

Posted by: camty | July 13, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Owino? Is he a Nigerian priest. African priest do not molest children. Look at the statistics of priests who have been caught and persecuted for child molestation. None are Africans. Owino, if you are an African priest, I trust that the truth will prevail. You have my support.

Posted by: camty | July 13, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

mlee_27 - sure seems the church did not turn a blind eye on him and stepped away from him quite swiftly. meanwhile they still strongly deny things from the 60s-70s-80s.

Posted by: oknow1 | July 13, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

He was moved by the wrong spirit.

Posted by: UnknownHenson | July 13, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I am not willing to run through the town with torches and pitchforks like some here but the fact that he is held without bond is curious.

Posted by: dtysko | July 13, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Let's have a little reality check please. 4% of priests have been accused of abuse. 4%. Think of that before you tarnish the vocation of the priesthood.
Each individual who has ever abused a child should rot in jail and hell.

Posted by: me21 | July 13, 2010 12:51 PM
First off 4% of priest being child molestors is significant. But what is just as worse is the other priests who did not abuse children but routinely covered for those that did. The church's hands are not clean in this. Maybe good priests are getting smeared and unfairly stereotyped. If that's the case blame that on church leaders who routinely let the bad seeds spoil the whole batch by refusing to do anything to stop them.

Posted by: 6thsense79 | July 13, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

@MarilynManson, "aggravated sexual battery" IS bad. It can include rape, and is far worse than indecent exposure! Just because he is being held on just one charge doesn't mean that will ultimately be the only charge.

@camty, just because he is a Nigerian doesn't mean he is innocent. I personally knew a Nigerian man who was found guilty of inappropriate sexual conduct around children. I agree that we cannot rush to judgement about his guilt, but we also must not rush to assume innocence.

Posted by: levarfan | July 13, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Rev. Felix C. Owino who taught at Wheeling Jesuit University the past two years.

This is some historical Jesuit perspective regarding the recent news on the Vatican mulling rules to prohibit sex abuse of impaired adults by priests:

Courts: Society of Jesus will pay two mentally retarded victims, who worked at a Bay Area retreat center, a total of $7.5 million

By Glenn F. Bunting
Los Angeles Times
September 5, 2002

The California Province of the Jesuit Order agreed to pay $7.5 million to two mentally retarded men who said they were sexually abused for years by Jesuits at a retreat in Northern California, according to sources who participated in the negotiations. [This was during the tenure of Jesuit Provincial Thomas Smolich, who was then promoted to be the highest Jesuit USA official with offices in Washington, DC.]

One of the defendants, Father Edward Thomas Burke, 81, was sentenced to two years in state prison for molesting one of the victims for several years. Burke had pleaded guilty to committing a lewd act on a dependent adult, a felony.

The case came to the attention of authorities in March after The Times reported that top Jesuit officials quietly relocated Burke in April 2000 after he admitted engaging in sexual misconduct. Instead of notifying authorities, the Jesuit leaders moved Burke to a residence at Santa Clara University.

Burke was the fifth Jesuit in Northern California in recent years ordered to register as a sex offender for life. All five have resided at Sacred Heart. Brother Charles Leonard Connor was convicted last year of committing a lewd act on the other victim. He is free after serving six months of home detention.

Bishop Accountability website

Posted by: twoten5 | July 14, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

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