A defrocked man of the cloth who abandoned his post as a Catholic priest and went away with an 18-year-old girl to Italy is being investigated by local law enforcement in Mobile, Alabama. And now, the sheriff’s office wants people to know him by his own words.
Alex Crow, 30, was rendered a former priest in July by the Archdiocese of Mobile. He was ordained in June 2021.
“Fr. Alex Crow abandoned his assignment in the Archdiocese,” a statement issued by the clerical organization and obtained by AL.com reads. “His behavior is totally unbecoming of a priest. He has been informed by the archbishop that he may no longer exercise ministry as a priest, nor to tell people he is a priest, nor to dress as a priest.”
The Archdiocese also reported Crow’s defrocking to the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office “due to the circumstances of his departure.”
On Monday, the MCSO released two separate letters allegedly penned by the ex-priest expressing his love and affection, in theological terms, for the recent McGill-Toolen High School graduate he traveled with.
“First things first: I love you, and I thank Jesus for you every day,” one letter – apparently addressed to the teenager – reads. “You have made my life both astronomically more complicated and incredibly better at the same time. You are his gift to me. Before we fell in love, I promised to always care for you and protect you, like a father. I still look at you and see a child, but in the best way imaginable. You are mine — no one else’s, and I will always be a father to you until I die.”
In comments to local Fox affiliate WALA, Montgomery County Sheriff Paul Burch said the letter was sent on Valentine’s Day, when the girl was a 17-year-old senior at the Catholic high school.
The letter goes on to express the notion that the then-priest and then-minor had already taken part in some kind of marriage ceremony.
“Now, we are in love and we are married!” Crow allegedly wrote. “I’ve never been in love before (and I’ve never been married, obviously!), and I’ve never felt any of the feelings I have for you for anyone ever in my entire life. I promise that I will love you the absolute best I can, every single day. I’m sorry I cannot give you a ‘normal’ Valentines Day this year. I wanted to do nothing more than buy you flowers but for fear of scandal I couldn’t. I almost stole some from the Mary statue but there were too many people around.”
“I know you want to make out so I’ll bring this to a close,” the letter goes on. “When we are together, with our family in Italy (!!!), we will have so many wonderful and normal Valentines Days, but for now: Happy Valentines Day. You are the prettiest girl who has ever lived, and I will always tell you that. You are perfect, and precious and, besides Jesus, the most wonderful thing I’ve ever seen or held in my two hands. I will always love you.”
Burch previously told the TV station that the Valentine’s Day letter got their attention and put a new light on the matter.
“That really changed our perspective on how we’re looking at the case,” the sheriff told WALA on Aug. 9. “Clearly there was some sort of a relationship other than a priest and a student.”
Local prosecutors were also struck by the Valentine’s Day letter.
“We are working closely with MCSO on this case,” the district attorney’s office told the TV station earlier this month. “This is an active investigation, so we are limited on what we can say in order to protect the integrity of the investigation. The circumstances surrounding this case are concerning, and it has the full attention of the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office.”
In a second letter, addressed to a person named “Joshua,” Crow appeared to anticipate the issues the Italian trip might cause.
“Jesus told me that He wants me to leave, therefore I am not going to return from this trip,” the letter reads. “I do this with a heavy heart. It is hard to suddenly leave everything behind, but this is what He is demanding, and I cannot deny Him.”
“[Redacted] has been told to come with me,” the second letter goes on. “We know how this looks, but we are doing what we are told. Do not worry about defending us. This is hard for her too, but she knows she will always be safe if she does Jesus’ Will.”
According to AL.com, the young woman and Crow were found in Italy by a family member of the recent high school student. As of late July, however, the sheriff’s office said there was nothing criminal afoot.
“It appeared they were staying in separate bedrooms,” Burch said at the time, “and the young woman insisted there was no intimate relationship. The investigation is still open and we are still checking into a few matters, however, there does not appear to be any (grounds for) criminal charges.”
That calculus appears to have changed.
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]