“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 BA.org 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.