2 ministers, one with ties to Baylor University, accused of forcing kids to perform sex acts in sauna at Houston home

HOUSTON – A former Houston minister who is a registered sex offender is accused of grooming young people for decades, with the most recent allegations coming from a child who said they were forced to perform depraved sexual acts in front of adults.

Daniel Savala, 67, was arrested in early June and has been charged with continuous sexual assault of a child.

According to court documents, Children’s Protective Services received at least three reports claiming that two children were abused for the past two years by Savala and another man, Chris Hundl.

Savala is a former youth minister, records show, and Hundl was a Chi Alpha minister formerly assigned to Baylor University. Hundl, 38, is also charged with continuous sexual abuse of a young child.

One of the alleged victims said the incidents happened when they were around 11 or 12 years old, between summer 2021 and March 2022.

Investigators were told the children were forced to fondle themselves at Savala’s sauna in Houston, as well as in Hundl’s sauna in Waco, while the adults watched. The child victims said they were instructed not to tell anyone.

Samples were collected from various places and items in Savala’s home, including floor mats from the sauna, buckets, trash cans, mugs, wrappers, various bottles, benches and door handles. Those samples were sent to be tested for DNA evidence.

CPS sent KPRC 2 a statement, reading: “CPS is investigating the allegations alongside law enforcement but due to confidentiality laws, not able to share specific details of investigations.”

During questioning, Hundl allegedly admitted to bringing the children to Savala’s home and watching the lewd sex acts.

Based on the details outlined in the documents, it appears Hundl may also have been a victim of Savala.

Hundl told investigators that Savala had been his “spiritual mentor” since college. He allegedly said that, after the two of them met, Savala would also encourage him to touch himself inappropriately as a form of “spiritual activity.”

A letter released by Scheef & Stone Attorneys at Law appears to show that Savala has been up to no good for at least 20 years, claiming that he has committed multiple offenses against students at various universities.

A portion of the letter states that through his decades-long connection with Chi Alpha Ministries, Savala has had access to many college-age men he has groomed and sexually abused. The letter claims Savala would meet the vulnerable young men in the capacity of a spiritual mentor with the approval of leadership, adding that Savala’s influence was manifold, and the students referred to him as “Uncle Daniel.”

The letter, demanding immediate action be taken, was sent on April 17 to the university systems of Texas A&M, Rice, Texas State, University of Texas and the University of Houston.

The letter states that, despite several university officials knowing of Savala’s past sexual crimes, they did not ban him from their campuses, nor did they inform students of his acts. In fact, it said that several representatives with knowledge of Savala’s crimes were involved in a letter-writing campaign seeking leniency for Savala.

The letter states, “Since 2012, Savala’s background as a sex offender is known to Chi Alpha Ministries and the Assemblies of God denomination.”

Records show that Savala was indicted in 2012 for 11 counts of continuous sexual contact and sexual abuse of a child in Ketchikan, Alaska. He pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual abuse of a minor and was convicted in October of that year.

The demand letter made a plea to the universities to remove Savala from the campuses “before more people get hurt.”

“This is not a financial demand or a threat, but a plea to your various systems and universities to hold Chi Alpha to account for what has unfolded over the last two decades. This must be brought to an immediate end. If Chi Alpha’s ongoing disregard for its students continues and requires expulsion of the organization from every single campus, so be it,” the letter states.

Chi Alpha World Fellowship is a network of Christian ministries sponsored by the Assemblies of God with a presence on more than 300 college campuses. The group, which was founded in 1953, is headquartered in Springfield, Missouri.

In regard to Hundl, Baylor University officials released the following statement:

“Baylor University is aware of serious allegations of impropriety among leaders of the independent organization Chi Alpha. Like all Chi Alpha college-based chapters, Baylor’s organization is led by the assigned Chi Alpha ministers and staff. These individuals are NOT Baylor employees.

“Mr. Chris Hundl was Chi Alpha’s assigned minister to Baylor prior to stepping down from the position in early May. Given the seriousness of the situation connected to Chi Alpha’s leadership, and while the University continues to investigate any impacts on Baylor students, Baylor proactively suspended all campus Chi Alpha operations in early May – based on potential violations of University event planning and registration guidelines.

“We are deeply disturbed and grieved by these serious allegations against Chi Alpha’s leaders, and we will continue to examine Baylor’s affiliated student organization to ensure our students have a healthy and safe co-curricular environment.”

For any Baylor students and parents in need of support, please use any of the following resources: