Archdiocese Move Is “too Little, Too Late”
June 27, 2014
The San Antonio Archdiocese has notified some of its flock about an admitted pedophile priest.
(see today's Express News).
Thirty five years ago, Fr. Bruce MacArthur was sentenced to state prison for trying to rape a disabled woman in a nursing home.
Twenty two years ago, Fr. Bruce MacArthur admitting to Catholic officials that he raped girls.
Only now, however, does San Antonio's bishop take even the tiniest of steps to share that information.
Parents and parishioners deserve better.
MacArthur was moved across 20 assignments in seven dioceses, four states and two countries. Four bishops in Texas alone transferred him. His sordid history has been on a widely-known and trusted website called BishopAccountability.org for at least a decade.
But San Antonio Catholic officials only act now, when a victim forces their hand. We can't help but wonder how many other serial child molesting clerics are in or have been in the archdiocese but whose crimes and whereabouts continue to be hidden by archdiocesan staffers, past and present.
Finally, the grudging, belated and small archdiocesan notice about MacArthur urged people to call church officials. That's a continuation of a decades-old pattern in which Catholic figures want to handle clergy sex crimes internally. It's secular officials, not church officials, who should be contacted with information about crimes. It's police and prosecutors, not priests and bishops, who should be told about crimes.
MacArthur is dead. He can't be prosecuted. It is possible, however, that current or former Catholic supervisors who helped him conceal his crimes might be prosecuted. And MacArthur's victims, at least some of them, are alive. They're likely still in pain. They deserve prompt, caring outreach, not a few tiny vague and carefully crafted notices issued decades late.