MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office is releasing new details about the relationship between a Mobile priest and a recent 18-year-old McGill-Toolen graduate, who left the country to go to Italy together last month.

Sheriff Burch previously said the two weren’t intimate and that his office wasn’t looking for any criminal charges to be filed against the priest but that has now changed.

“We originally were told that it didn’t appear to be any kind of relationship but we’re looking at some new things and we believe that’s not the case,” said Burch.

Burch said the question of whether or not criminal charges will be filed against Alex Crow, the Corpus Christi priest who the Archdiocese’s said “abandoned his assignment,” all boils down to when exactly their relationship began.

“I believe there was some inappropriate conduct, not necessarily sexual, but inappropriate conduct over the course of the last year or two,” said Burch.

McGill-Toolen has acknowledged “Mr. Crow did visit some Theology classrooms and heard confessions during the period September through December 2021,” in a Facebook post from July 28.

“If a relationship started during that time, it doesn’t matter what her age was,” said Burch. “She could have been 20. You are an agent of a school, however you want to define it, and you can’t have a relationship with a student.”

Burch said he spoke with the young woman last week and that’s when she told him she has no intentions on coming back to Mobile, which is consistent with what Crow said in his letter he wrote to the Archdiocese of Mobile. 

“Grooming is a good choice of words because that looks like what he’s done, not only with her, but I think there was attempts with at least one other student,” said Burch.

In a statement, District Attorney Keith Blackwood told WKRG News 5, “the circumstances surrounding this case are concerning, and it has the full attention of the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office.”

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Mobile told WKRG News 5, “it is the practice of the Archdiocese of Mobile not to comment on legal matters involving Church personnel.”

Sheriff Burch said his office is now working with federal agencies on this case.