One of the most recently accused priests on the Dallas diocese list was celebrating Mass and hearing confessions at a Duncanville Catholic church just weeks before he was removed over abuse allegations.
Father Alejandro “Alex” Buitrago is listed as retired in 2017 and was “removed” from his job as a priest in 2018, according to the Dallas diocese list released Thursday. There was no exact date of that removal on the list, but a diocese official said he was removed just last month, in December.
WFAA found several online church bulletins – one from June, two from July, and two from September – noting that Fr. Buitrago is a “guest priest” celebrating Mass, sometimes in Spanish, at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Duncanville.
The Duncanville church does not appear on Buitrago's "assignment history" released Thursday by the diocese. When asked why, the diocese said it doesn't keep track of "guest" appearances by priests, specifically retired ones. Those assignments, they said, are usually scheduled by the local parish priest who may need to fill a spot for Mass or confessions quickly.
Dallas Diocese Bishop Edward Burns told reporters today during a news conference that he would not address questions about specific priests.
Buitrago was ordained in 1967 and served in several parishes before he retired in 2017 and was removed “with faculties suspended” in 2018.
Buitrago told WFAA by phone late Thursday that the "allegations are not true."
He also said that "there's no proof."
Before ending the conversation, Buitrago said he was looking to hire an attorney.
Here's a photo of Fr. Buitrago in 2017, the year of his retirement, at Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos - Santa Teresita Church in Dallas.
According to the diocese listing, Buitrago’s church assignments include:
• Chaplain, Children's Hospital Corpus Christi (Ferris)
• Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos-St. Theresa Quasi-Parish
• Chaplain, Parkland Memorial Hospital
• St. Elizabeth of Hungary
• St. Mark the Evangelist (Plano)
• St. Paul the Apostle (Richardson)
Parkland released a statement about Buitrago late Thursday:
Father Buitrago was a volunteer chaplain at the hospital from 2014 to 2017. He was never employed by the health system. He saw adult patients on a referral basis at the hospital. There is no record of any complaint against Mr. Buitrago. We have not been able to find any record of having been contacted by the diocese.
Another priest on Dallas’ list is Fr. Jeremy Myers, whom the church says it removed in 2018. Again, there is no date given.
This bulletin, from May, from the St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Whitesboro, Tx., contains an essay from Fr. Myers called “I am with you always, until the end.”
And here’s a Facebook picture of him from 2014 at St. Mary’s in Sherman, presenting the “Virtue Award for Kindness” to elementary school students:
The Texas Catholic website reported that on Wednesday, Bishop Burns visited St. Mary's in Sherman to meet with parishioners and alert them to the news that Myers would be on today's list.
Meyers' other pastoral assignments include Good Shepherd in Garland and St. Thomas Aquinas in Dallas.
Here is a photo of a newspaper clipping from Myers' ordination in 1984.
Teresa Woodard contributed to this report.