New Allegation Was Omitted Even As Diocese Made a Change

Star-Telegram [Fort Worth TX]
November 29, 2006

[See related articles on the Fort Worth files, and the accused priests Hanlon, Hoover, Howlett, Magaldi, and Reilly. See also the documents on which this series is based, with links to assignment records and background information.]

The Rev. Rudolf John Renteria

Ordained: Aug. 18, 1979

Assignments: St. Matthew, Arlington; Sacred Heart, Wichita Falls; Holy Family et al., Vernon; St. Philip the Apostle, Lewisville; Holy Family, Fort Worth; St. Paul's Hospital, Dallas

The June 29, 2002, news release was technically correct: Bishop Delaney was removing the Rev. Rudolf Renterķa from active ministry because of a single accusation that he had abused a minor in 1981.

The news release stated that no other allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor had been made against Renterķa during his time in Wichita Falls, Vernon or Lewisville.

But Delaney made no mention of another sex abuse allegation involving an 18-year-old that had more recently come to his attention.

Delaney revealed only the earlier allegation, which involved the "improper sexual touching of a 14-year-old boy" who was a parishioner at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Arlington, documents show. The news release said Renterķa was unable to "confirm or deny the incident because of the influence of alcohol."

"The history of this case was one which was inadequately handled by today's rigorous standards, particularly in terms of transparency and openness," Delaney was quoted as saying in the release.

Removed after a reminder

The files show that Delaney, who had known of the incident for years, removed Renterķa after the 14-year-old boy's father reminded him of the allegation.

Renterķa reportedly made the boy shower and then took him to bed, where the boy said he was fondled.

Delaney told the father that Renterķa had "difficulty with alcohol and some sexual acting out -- but never with minors -- went to therapy, left parish ministry and has been a successful hospital chaplain for over 10 years."

When Delaney first learned of the incident, he moved the priest to a parish in Vernon. Later, after additional unspecified "disruptive behavior" and alcohol abuse, Renterķa was sent to a treatment facility for priests in Canada. Renterķa's last assignment was as chaplain at St. Paul's Hospital in Dallas.

In a news release, Delaney apologized for what happened to the boy. "... I deeply regret that I did not act more firmly and decisively in dealing with Fr. Renterķa at that time," he wrote.

Two years before the announcement, the other accuser had come forward.

In March 2000, then-diocese Chancellor Robert Wilson received a complaint from a man who said the priest had fondled and tried to sodomize him in summer 1985, soon after he graduated from high school. The incident is alleged to have taken place at the priest's home.

The man said he asked the priest to stop and the priest did so, according to the files.

A skeptical committee

"You're saying he stopped right away, you didn't have to shove him away or hit him in the jaw or anything?" the man was asked by the diocese committee investigating the allegation.


The man told Wilson and the committee that Renterķa gave him alcohol and was intoxicated.

The committee noted that the man "has stated a hostility against the Catholic Church." It questioned him closely, even raising doubts about his description of the priest's music collection, and noted that "his anger, in relation to the incident, is overstated."

The committee saw Renterķa as cooperative and noted that he appeared to answer questions thoughtfully.

"He is clearly depressed; in fact, the committee is concerned about his level of depression," according to a document in the files.

Renterķa told the committee that his life at the time was characterized by excessive drinking and that he had alcohol-related blackouts. But Renterķa denied the sexual assault allegation.

He became tearful during the committee interview and spoke about feelings of isolation, according to the committee report.

The committee concluded that Renterķa was not a threat as long as he wasn't drinking.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.