Priest who fled parish files for civil marriage with 18-year-old woman

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laicization of Alex Crow
Alex Crow, former parochial vicar at Corpus Christi Parish in Mobile, Ala., is pictured in an undated photo. The Archdiocese of Mobile revealed Jan. 5 that Pope Francis finalized the decision to laicize Crow, who abruptly left the Mobile parish at the end of July to travel to Italy with a June 2023 graduate of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School. (OSV News photo/courtesy Archdiocese of Mobile)

(OSV News) — A soon-to-be-laicized Alabama priest has civilly married the young woman with whom he fled to Europe in July.

Father Alex Crow, who abruptly left Corpus Christi Parish in Mobile, Alabama at the end of July to travel to Italy with Taylor Victoria Harrison, a June 2023 graduate of McGill-Toolen Catholic High School, filed a notarized Alabama marriage certificate with the Mobile County probate court Nov. 20, one week after his 30th birthday. OSV News obtained an electronic copy of the certificate.

The document lists the 18-year-old Harrison as his wife. She and Father Crow had returned to the Mobile area earlier in November.

Mobile attorney Christine Hernandez, who represents Harrison’s family, told OSV News that “the family is very upset and has no comment at this time.”

OSV News confirmed with the Archdiocese of Mobile Nov. 22 that the laicization process initiated by Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi a month after Father Crow’s departure has not yet been completed.

Suspended from ministry in July

In a statement issued Nov. 22, the archdiocese told OSV News, “Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi announced in July that he had suspended Alex Crow and prohibited him from acting, dressing, or presenting himself as a priest. Archbishop Rodi additionally shared in August that he saw no way back to the priesthood for Alex Crow.”

The archdiocese also said that “the recent news of Crow’s civil marriage only confirms the Archbishop’s judgment. Archbishop Rodi anticipates that the Vatican will eventually laicize Alex Crow.”

From their departure until at least September, Father Crow and Harrison stayed in at least four Airbnb properties in San Gimignano, a picturesque medieval town near Florence, Italy, that is popular with tourists.

Grave concerns from family

While Harrison was believed to be 18 at the time of travel, her family has repeatedly expressed grave concerns their daughter had been groomed by the 30-year-old Father Crow, who attended the school from 2007-2011 and later provided pastoral ministry to students — although school officials have denied he was formally employed or had ever chaperoned school trips or retreats.

Four investigations were launched into the departure of Father Crow and Harrison, with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office, the Mobile County District Attorney, the archdiocese and Hernandez, all seeking to verify whether Father Crow had groomed Harrison. Both the sheriff’s office and the district attorney closed the investigations with no charges, citing a lack of admissible evidence despite extensive interviews with possible witnesses.

Investigation continues

Hernandez told OSV News she plans to continue her investigation, adding that the marriage further throws into question initial allegations Father Crow’s relationship with Harrison was platonic.

“Who gets married 10 days after they return to the country if they haven’t been having some kind of relationship that began at McGill-Toolen?” said Hernandez.

Mobile County District Attorney Keith Blackwood said in a statement at the time that Harrison — who “appeared in seemingly good health and said that she is safe” — had brought an attorney to her meeting with his office, and that together they had “declined to answer any questions about the circumstances surrounding her July disappearance, or indeed any other questions.”

Professions of love

In a Valentine Day’s letter written prior to the departure, Father Crow had described himself to Harrison as “married” to her.

“I love you, and I thank Jesus for you every day. You have made my life both astronomically more complicated and incredibly better at the same time. You are his gift to me,” Father Alex Crow wrote in the letter, which was released by the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office. “Now, we are in love and we are married! 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.”

The handwritten letter indicated that the priest planned for he and Harrison to be in Italy together “with our family” and have “many wonderful and normal Valentine’s Days.”

OSV News is awaiting a response from Father Crow to a request for comment.

Gina Christian

Gina Christian is a National Reporter for OSV News.