MOBILE, Ala. — A Catholic priest who married a teenager after leaving the country with her this summer has been removed from the priesthood, church officials announced Friday.
The Archdiocese of Mobile announced in a statement that Alex Crow is no longer a member of the clergy. The church said that Crow requested that he be removed from the priesthood.
The relationship between priest and teen drew international attention this summer. Authorities in south Alabama said Crow left the country in late July with an 18-year-old woman who was a recent graduate of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School. Crow did not teach at the school but visited theology classes and heard confession there, news outlets reported.
Church officials said Friday they received a letter from Pope Francis confirming that Crow’s defrocking, a process known as laicization, has been completed.
“I pray that this decision is one more way in which we can all move toward peace after these unsettling events. I continue to pray for God’s grace to bring healing for all,” Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi said in a statement.
The Archdiocese of Mobile in July announced Crow’s suspension and said that the bishop could begin the process of removing him from the clergy after he was absent from his duties for six months. Crow requested his own removal before the six months had passed, officials said.
A marriage certificate filed late last year indicated that Crow and the young woman got married. The district attorney in Mobile County last year announced that it had closed an investigation into any criminal wrongdoing in the pair’s relationship.