Catholic Priest Sentenced for Molesting 11 Year Old Girl

By 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. (That would be a lot more than touching)

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.