Archdiocese confirms decades old rape allegation of woman at S.A. church

By Sharon Ko
June 28, 2014

[with video]

SAN ANTONIO -- A priest who was already convicted of attempted rape and the sexual assault of a girl has now been tied to an alleged case of abuse in San Antonio.

Recently, a woman came forward claiming the late reverend Bruce MacArthur raped her when she was a girl in the late 1970's at Saint James Catholic Church. 

The San Antonio director of 'Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,' Barbara Boehland said the victim did not receive any help from the church and instead, reached out to SNAP. 

"It takes awhile for people to come forward. It's a shameful thing. It's embarrassing. You feel filthy. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and we're really proud of this person," said Boehland.

The Archdiocese of San Antonio confirmed it believes the woman's claim and Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller responded in a statement saying the church hopes "that any members of our community affected by sexual abuse will be encouraged to seek all needed pastoral support or counseling as part of their healing process.”

"Well, that's the same old, typical church handling all of this sex abuse. They need to really insist the victims go to the police. It's not bishops or priests who can handle this," Boehland told KENS 5.

Boehland said the apology from the archdiocese does not make up for the fact that MacArthur was transferred to different parishes during his time with the church.

"He has 20 different assignments, seven different parishes and between that time, he did rape another victim. We're sure there are other victims out there. They had their chance to come forward about this, they've known for 10 years," said Boehland.

Boehland claimed his supervising bishops knew about MacArthur's criminal record but permitted him to move forward with the church

"There's people that can be held responsible for this. There are people that can go to prison for this," said Boehland.

Boehland said MacArthur was convicted of child sex abuse in Wisconsin in 2008 and was also convicted of attempted rape of a disabled woman in El Paso in 1979.


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