“Benevolent” Bishops in Texas  Cover Up Sex Crimes for  Rev. Bruce D. MacArthur

In 2012, Father Bruce Duncan MacArthur died in Clint, Texas, a small community near El Paso.  His long and  sordid  history of molesting ( by his own admission at least 30 girls) when he was working as a Catholic priest in South Dakota, Wisconsin and Texas was not publically  known  until  it was exposed in  a June 26, 2014 article published in the San Antonio Express-News[insert news link here].   The  article revealed  that as early as 1963,  MacArthur’s various Church employers    knew or should have known of his documented serial  abuse of children but kept the extent of what they knew secret from  parishioners and the public by  transferring   him   from parish to parish and diocese to diocese and state to state. In doing so, Church officials enabled, aided and abetted his gaining access to additional victims for several decades.

Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of San Antonio received a report from a woman who was   abused as a child in the mid-seventies when she attended St. James Church in San Antonio.  Finally, in June the Archdiocese quietly placed a small notice captioned simply “Rev. Bruce MacArthur” in two parish bulletins (St. James Church and St. Dominic Church, both in San Antonio) where it had assigned MacArthur from the late 1970s into the mid-1980s. The same notice was also discreetly placed on the Archdiocese’s website and their  newspaper Today’s Catholic. It gave no notice to mainstream media. [Church bulletin notice link here].

The Archdiocese of San Antonio’s “notice” is telling, not from what it says about MacArthur, but from what it omits and implies. The Archdiocese minimizes Father MacArthur’s  sex crimes against children and thus trivializes  the harm he  inflicted on those who trusted him over the long years he was a priest. It certainly does not give his full history as a Catholic clergyman in Texas, a virtual dumping ground for “problem” priests from other parts of the country. The Archdiocese of San Antonio has withheld these crucial facts:

  • Shortly before he worked in the Archdiocese of San Antonio, Father MacArthur worked in the Diocese of El Paso. There, in 1978 local media covered his arrest and conviction  of attempted rape of a woman who was both unable to walk and unable  to speak;
  • In 2003, he was sued in South Dakota along with the Diocese of Sioux Falls and Diocese of Milwaukee by a woman he abused as a child;
  • In 2006, he was again arrested and convicted for sexually molesting three girls in the late 1960s at the Beaver Dam Hospital in Wisconsin where he was chaplain;
  • In 2007, additional civil suits alleging sexual abuse were filed against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Wisconsin and Sioux Falls.

In both Wisconsin and  South Dakota, there were media reports and public lawsuits detailing his sexual abuse of girls [See history].  Yet in Texas, not until the San Antonio Express’s article was there public disclosure of the cozy relationship between MacArthur and his “Benevolent”  bishops, specifically  the  Bishops of  El Paso, San Antonio and San Angelo.

So how was this scandal finally exposed? Not through the “transparency”   the Catholic Church professes to observe in clergy sexual abuse cases, but rather through the outcry of victims and the  responsible reporting by the press. Until all  Bishops of Texas  release  to the public the identities and  files of all pedophile priests who  have worked in their Dioceses or been afforded have in their dioceses under conditions similar to MacArthur’s ,children will continue to be  at risk.



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