El Paso Ex-Priest Arrested Again

By Darren Meritz
El Paso Times
January 21, 2006

A former priest who during the 1970s was convicted of attempting to rape a woman in El Paso was arrested Friday outside of St. Louis at a church-run housing and recovery center.

Bruce MacArthur, 83, was arrested for allegedly molesting Judy DeLonga, who in 2003 filed a civil suit against the former priest for sex crimes she alleges he committed against her beginning when she was about 10 years old in the 1960s in Wisconsin.

Details MacArthur provided in his deposition led to his arrest Friday, said Jeff Anderson, lawyer for DeLonga. A deposition summary indicated MacArthur admitted molesting and raping a number of women and girls during the 1960s and 1970s.

"The bishops that protected him and helped him with knowledge (that he was) a sex offender are every bit as criminal as he is," Anderson said.

MacArthur served at parishes throughout the United States and Africa. He performed duties at St. Patrick Cathedral in El Paso from 1974 to 1977, and was indicted in February 1978 in the attempted rape of a crippled patient at the Four Seasons Nursing Home on Murchison Drive, archives of the El Paso Times indicate.

In the alleged assault, he climbed on top of the 54-year-old patient -- who had a congenital disease that left her unable to speak or control her motor functions -- while in her bed -- stories said. A female nurse's aide is believed to have witnessed the event.

MacArthur served more than two years in prison, according to a summary of MacArthur's deposition in DeLonga's case.

Officials of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso were not available Friday night and did not respond to calls. At St. Patrick Cathedral, officials said they were unfamiliar with MacArthur, but letters in the court record indicate that El Paso clergy are familiar with MacArthur's case.

The Rev. John F. Peters, of the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, wrote to the Rev. Lambert Hoch of Sioux Falls, S.D., in 1979: "As you recall Fr. Bruce MacArthur was serving here in El Paso, when the unfortunate event took place that resulted in his incarceration. His release on probation was conditioned by the commitment of the Church to provide for his psychological treatment."

Darren Meritz may be reached at; 546-6127.


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