A Catholic priest in California who stepped down after announcing he was becoming a father has broken his silence after welcoming his son into the world.
Dean McFalls, former pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Stockton, spoke to FOX40 to defend himself from an earlier report he claims defamed his character.
“I was pretty hurt,” McFalls said. “My reputation was really damaged by a crew that would come to our church steps and find the most extreme person … She asked me to do an exorcism, and when I said I wasn’t free to exorcise her at that time she said that she was going to take it farther … I want to pray for her. I’ve known her for years.”
Church officials announced that McFalls, 68, would take a personal leave of absence from active ministry last week after admitting to his congregation that he impregnated an unidentified woman. McFalls’ son, Gabriel, was born on Saturday.
In spite of the controversy, however, many of his former parishioners have come to his defense.
“I’ve had a rough couple of years, and he has been over to my home many times just with a call to say prayers with my family and children,” parishioner Terri Lomeli told FOX40.
Longtime congregants who support McFalls said his friendly disposition may be perceived by outsiders as flirtatious.
“He’s a very friendly man and everyone thinks that he’s their best friend,” Cathleen Cavanaugh said. “So, you can misconstrue that.”