Solano County Pastor Arrested on 19 Sexual Abuse Counts

By Catherine Bowen
The Reporter
June 30, 2012

A well-known pastor at a Fairfield church was arrested Thursday night amid molestation allegations spanning as far back as 1994, police announced Friday.

The Rev. Robert "Silas" Ruark of Suisun City was taken into custody around 9:45 p.m., after Fairfield police officers served an arrest warrant at his home in the 1400 block of Spence Court, authorities reported.

Six alleged victims of the 65-year-old priest, known by many at St. Timothy Orthodox Church as "Father Silas," have come forward. However, Fairfield Lt. Greg Hurlbut said police fear there could be others.

The investigation into Ruark began after members of the diocese contacted the Fairfield Police Department's Major Crimes Unit when they learned of the alleged molestations, authorities said. The diocese provided police with the names of those believed to have been molested by Ruark.

Detectives worked throughout the day interviewing the alleged victims, all now adults ranging in age from 20 to 24, and witnesses as they began piecing the case together, along with the help of the Solano County District Attorney's Office.

The alleged victims identified Ruark, accusing him of committing lewd acts on them when they were as young as 13 and, in some instances, photographing them while naked, police said. They told detectives the majority of the molestations took place both at the church -- 4953 Central Way, Cordelia -- when they were left alone with Ruark and other times at his home, where Hurlbut said there were allegedly sleepovers on occasion.

"Our biggest thing right now is just trying to identify other potential victims," Hurlbut said.

Prior to joining the church, Ruark spent 22 years serving in the U.S. Army criminal investigation unit, Hurlbut said, followed by a stint as chief investigator for County Health and Social Services.

A former evangelical Protestant volunteering with Prison Fellowship Ministries at California Medical Facility in Vacaville, Ruark began a three-year program at St. Stephen's School of Orthodox Philosophy in 1994 and was ordained as a priest on Nov. 17, 1997, according to an interview he gave The Reporter upon the church's 10th anniversary in 2004.

Ruark was taken into custody without incident. A search warrant was executed at his residence Thursday night and at St. Timothy on Friday morning for evidence related to the allegations. During the searches, Hurlbut said detectives confiscated electronic items such as cameras and computers that could contain further evidence but noted it would likely take a week for the investigation's forensic results.

Ruark was interviewed by detectives and later booked into Solano County Jail on 19 counts related to the molestations, including one count of penetration with a foreign object and numerous counts of sexual battery, Hurlbut said.

Investigators are preparing the case for presentation at Ruark's arraignment, which is scheduled to take place at 9 a.m. Monday in Solano County Superior Court.

Authorities are still trying to identify possible victims in the case, and urge anyone with information to contact the Fairfield Police Department Investigations Bureau at 428-7600, or the 24-hour tip line at 428-7345.








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