New York’s Father George Rutler’s St. Patrick’s Day missive made for interesting reading.
By Niall O’Dowd
A leading United States Catholic church figure, who has slammed the Irish government’s Deputy Leader Leo Varadkar for being gay, attacked Irish clergy as weak, and dismissed decades of sex abuse scandals in Ireland’s Catholic Church as “peripheral”, is being investigated for sexual assault, after a church worker allegedly filmed him watching gay pornography.
Father George Rutler had made the comments about Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar, in March 2019, on EWTN, the global Catholic network, and slammed Ireland’s then-leader for “publicly living in perverse contempt for the sacrament of holy matrimony.”
When asked at the time about his comments by IrishCentral, Father Rutler agreed that he was speaking specifically about Vardkar’s sexual orientation and the fact that he may well marry his partner, Dr. Matthew Barrett.
Father Rutler, who is pastor of the Church of St. Michael in Manhattan and a conservative icon and author of 30 books, has stepped down while the allegations are being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney. The Archdiocese of New York has confirmed he is no longer in ministry while the charges are being investigated.
The accusation comes from Ashley Gonzalez, a 22-year-old security guard who had just been hired as an overnight security guard by Rutler.
She alleges that on Nov 4, at around 1.20 am, Rutler forcibly groped her, after she had filmed him late at night watching hardcore homosexual pornography on an office computer in the church rectory. The incident took place during Gonzalez’s second night on the job.
According to Gonzalez, she was sitting in the rectory texting her mother when Rutler came in.
She claims he sat down at the computer and watched a political program before switching over to gay pornography.
In the video, the person Gonzalez identifies as Rutler is sitting at a desk in the office decorated with religious icons while watching gay porn. Gonzalez claims she tried to leave the office after Rutler saw her filming him and that he grabbed her chest and slammed the door on her hand as she tried to escape. She filed sexual assault allegations the next day.
Father Rutler is a superstar in conservative circles. Columnist Rod Dreher of the American Conservative stated:
“People outside the Catholic world may not be aware that George Rutler is one of the most famous conservative priests in the country. He has been a staple on EWTN, the Catholic channel, for many years. He is a powerful homilist and presents himself as a flinty arch-conservative who suffers no fools gladly. “
Dreher says Rutler’s time as a priest is over if he is convicted. Rutler was once an Episcopal priest who was accepted into the Catholic Church.
Rutler is an arch critic of Ireland, both its political and religious leaders. Writing in 2019 he stated, “The Taoiseach (Prime Minister), was elected while publicly living in perverse contempt of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The chief seminary of Maynooth has the lowest numbers of students since its foundation in 1795. Its rector of fifteen years abandoned the Faith and now conducts an esoteric cult in Arizona… An Irish commentator and playwright recently called Ireland ‘The Most Anti-Catholic Country on Planet Earth.'”
The Manhattan DA’s office refused to comment on the investigation.
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