Priest Molested Boys for 18 Years, He Says

By Karen E. Henderson
Plain Dealer [Cleveland, Ohio]
July 11, 1990

A Byzantine Catholic priest who pleaded guilty in 1987 to molesting six boys in Minnesota admitted in a sworn statement that he molested numerous other boys over an 18-year period while assigned to parishes in Ohio and elsewhere.

The Rev. Robert Ruglovsky, 53, told lawyers taking depositions for a civil lawsuit filed in Minnesota on behalf of two of his victims that he molested his first child in 1962 while assigned to St. Joseph's parish in Cleveland. He said he brought two 12-year-old altar boys home, took one upstairs and fondled him.

While assigned to Holy Ghost Byzantine Catholic Church parish in Cleveland, Ruglovsky said he persuaded a 13-year-old boy's parents to let the boy stay overnight at the rectory and fondled him. He said the same year he befriended another 13-year-old boy and had at least 10 sexual contacts with him, including several that occurred during stays at motels.

He said that while he was assigned to a church in Barberton, he persuaded a mother to let her 12-year-old son stay with him at the rectory, ostensibly to help with repairs. He said he lived with the boy for two months, sleeping in the same bed and having sexual contact with him four nights a week.

In 1969 or 1970, he was assigned to Christ the King parish in Detroit and seduced the paper boy about seven times, he said.

Despite his numerous sexual encounters and psychological problems that required hospitalization and medication, Ruglovsky did not get in trouble with diocesan officials until he was caught stealing money from bingo games, according to his deposition.

Ruglovsky estimates he stole $100,000 while at Christ the King Church in Detroit. He said he used the money to buy a cabin cruiser, pay for expensive trips and buy luxury items. He said when he was confronted by his superiors about shortages in bingo proceeds, he broke down and confessed.

The late Bishop Emil Mikalik had him transferred in 1973 to St. Stephen's Byzantine parish in Euclid where he had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized. In 1981, he was assigned to St. John Byzantine Catholic Church in Minneapolis.

"There were no restrictions on his duties, and no inquiry into his fitness for the position, in spite of the bizarre events at Christ the King in Michigan and the nervous breakdown in Euclid," lawyers wrote in the Minnesota lawsuit.


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