Priest Is Facing Charges

By Diane Graff
Watertown Daily Times
February 27, 2006

JUNEAU - A former Beaver Dam priest made his initial appearance in Dodge County Court Friday on numerous sexual assault charges. The charges stem from incidents that occurred about 40 years ago while the man was a Catholic priest at the Beaver Dam hospital.

Bruce Duncan MacArthur, 84, appeared before Judge Andrew Bissonnette on two counts of sexual intercourse with a child, four counts of indecent behavior with a child and one count of attempted indecent behavior with a child.

The offenses occurred back in the mid-1960s with three different girls all under the age of 18 at the time.

The judge set bail at $10,000 cash. MacArthur's attorney, Alexander Flynn, had argued for a lesser amount because of the defendant's age and ill health.

A preliminary hearing was set for 3 p.m. Thursday.

Flynn also filed a motion to dismiss the charges.

MacArthur appeared in court after being extradited from Missouri where he currently resides.

According to the charges, the incidents occurred while MacArthur worked at St. Joseph's Hospital in Beaver Dam as a chaplain.

According to the complaint, one of the victims, now 60, reported the sexual abuse to a Beaver Dam police detective in November 2005. She told investigators the abuse began when she was 10 years old. The defendant was a chaplain at the hospital and started molesting her from the first night she was at the hospital.

In a statement to police, the victim wrote the chaplain developed a relationship with her parents and became good friends. Her parents would allow the defendant to take her to church and after Mass he took her to his apartment at the hospital where he fondled her. Within a few weeks, the fondling progressed into sexual intercourse, the victim, who was 11 years old at the time, stated.

Late last year, another victim spoke with investigators about incidents that occurred between Aug. 15, 1966, and June 15, 1967, also at the hospital.

A week later, another victim came forward and told investigators about sexual abuse while a patient at St. Joseph's Hospital.

According to the Milwaukee Catholic Archdiocese, MacArthur was assigned to St. Joseph's Hospital as a chaplain between April 12, 1966, and Jan. 12, 1970. He left the state after that assignment and never returned.

If convicted of the offenses, MacArthur faces up to 80 years in prison.


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