Former Catholic Priest, 86, Gets Jail Time for Sex Assaults

By Colleen Kottke and Sharon Roznik
The Reporter

August 16, 2008

JUNEAU — An 86-year-old former Catholic priest will spend six months in jail plus an additional month each year for six years for sexually assaulting three young girls in the 1960s and 1970s.

Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Brian Pfitzinger sentenced Bruce Duncan MacArthur on Friday for several sex crime convictions, including two counts of sexual intercourse with a child, four counts of indecent behavior with a child, and attempted indecent behavior with a child.

Prison terms totaling 80 years were imposed and stayed, but Pfitzinger honored a request from one of the victims, now 53-years-old, that MacArthur meet with her at least 10 times for two hours to discuss the assaults.

Duncan, who resides in a nursing home in Missouri, is said to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and heart ailments, according to his attorney, Alex Flynn.

According to the criminal complaint, a 50-year-old woman told Beaver Dam police that she was sexually abused by MacArthur from the time she was 10 years old until she was in high school. The woman said the first assault took place in a hospital room at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Beaver Dam where she was a patient.

Several times a week, the priest would take the child home to his apartment where he would fondle her and have sex with her, according to the complaint. The assaults also took place while the victim accompanied MacArthur on trips, the complaint said.

Two other women reported that MacArthur attempted to molest them while they were patients at the hospital.

Pfitzinger ordered that Huber privileges could be used for meeting with the victims, and when MacArthur is not in jail, he can reside at the Evergreen Hills nursing home in Missouri, where he’s been living for the past four years. He must also register as a sex offender and obtain sex offender counseling.

He was taken into custody immediately following the two-hour sentencing hearing and met with the 53-year-old victim at the Dodge County Jail.

Charges against the former priest and chaplain were filed in January 2006. A motion by MacArthur’s attorney to dismiss the case due to the expiration of the statute of limitations was thrown out by Dodge County Circuit Court Judge Daniel Klossner.

The case then moved to an appellate court in August of 2006. The Court of Appeals forwarded the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which said the case could move forward.


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