Convicted Houston sex offender Daniel Savala remained this week in McLennan County Jail after he was transferred here to face child sex abuse charges in a case that involved a former Chi Alpha campus minister at Baylor University.
Savala, 67, was arrested June 2 by the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force in Houston on a Waco Police Department warrant. He was transferred Friday to McLennan County, with bond set at $250,000, jail records show.
Savala’s arrest is tied to the May 23 arrest of Chris Hundl, former minister of the Baylor chapter of Chi Alpha, a worldwide Christian college ministry affiliated with the Assemblies of God. Hundl was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child and was released on $50,000 bond last month.
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According to arrest warrants for both men, Hundl granted Savala access to two young family members on several occasions between summer 2021 and March 2022. The warrant states Waco police received three Child Protective Services referrals describing the abuse.
The warrant says investigators called Hundl, who described the abuse. According to the warrant, Hundl told investigators he brought the two boys, who were between the ages of 11 and 12, to use a sauna at Savala’s home in Houston several times, where Savala instructed the boys to masturbate in front of him and Hundl.
The warrant says this abuse also occurred at a sauna at Hundl’s Waco home. The warrant says forensic interviews of the children were conducted, and the child victims confirmed the abuse and said Savala also touched their genitals while Hundl was present. The children said Hundl and Savala told them not to tell anyone about the abuse.
According to the warrant, Hundl described Savala as his “spiritual mentor” and said the two men met while Hundl was in college. Hundl told investigators after he and Savala met, they would perform sexual acts on one another as a “spiritual activity.” Hundl also told investigators Savala acted as a “grandfather” to the two boys.
According to the Texas sex offender registry, Savala was charged in 2012 for sexual abuse of a minor, a third-degree felony. Court documents show the offense was committed in Alaska between 1995 and 1997. An Oct. 25, 2012 Ketchikan Daily News article about the case says Savala pled guilty and was sentenced to 90 days in prison for the offense, in part because the crime took place when sentencing guidelines for sex offenders were lighter.
The website “XA and the Lion’s Den” went online in April, and the forum contains numerous allegations of sexual abuse against Savala, with some accounts describing activity more than 30 years ago. The forum contains allegations from multiple colleges and churches in Texas.
An April 17 letter from Scheef & Stone LLP, a Frisco law firm representing alleged victims of Savala, addressed to Texas A&M University System, Texas State University System, the University of Houston, Rice University and the University of Texas System, alleges Chi Alpha and Assemblies of God leaders were aware of Savala’s sex offender status and continued to associate with him and direct young men to him for spiritual guidance.
According to the North Texas District Council of the Assemblies of God, church officials ousted Hundl from his leadership position in Chi Alpha on May 4 as part of their investigation into Savala’s connection with the leaders of multiple Texas Chi Alpha chapters. The church also said they alerted Child Protective Services after Hundl reported “certain actions” to the church.
The North District Council also said they have no record of Savala ever serving as a minister or holding a position within Chi Alpha.
The Baylor chapter of Chi Alpha has been suspended since early May while Baylor University officials investigate “any impacts” on Baylor students, Baylor said in a statement. The statement emphasized that Hundl was not a Baylor employee.