The Rev. George Rutler, a well-known Catholic apologist and television commentator on EWTN, has voluntarily stepped down from his pastoral duties at the Church of St Michael in Manhattan after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female security guard.
New York’s Channel 12 news on 26 Nov 2020 reported that Ashely Gonzalez (22), a security guard employed by MG Security Services and assigned to St Michael’s forcibly groped her after she found the priest watching homosexual pornograph on a church computer.
Fr. Rutler (75) served as an Episcopal priest for nine years, and resigned as rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont (PA) to enter the Catholic Church in 1979. He has written over 30 books and has hosted a weekly show on EWTN since 1988. The Archdiocese of New York told News12 there have been no other allegations of abuse made against Fr. Rutler.
Ms. Gonzalez said she had finished her rounds at the church on the night of November 3 – 4 and was sitting in the office texting her mother when Fr. Rutler allegedly entered the office. She claims he sat at his computer and viewed the election returns before viewing homosexual pornography. Ms Gonzalez said she filmed Fr Rutler with her cellphone while he was watching the film.
Ms Gonzalez alleges she attempted to flee, but Fr. Rutler intercepted her at the door, slamming it shut. She claims he then grabbed at her breasts, but she was able to escape from the office. Shortly after the alleged incident Ms. Gonzales texted her mother telling her she had almost been raped.
The cellphone video shot by Ms Gonzales was given to the Catholic News Agency which reported: “a bald-headed man— fully clothed and wearing a grey or black sweater or long sleeve shirt— can be seen from behind sitting at a desk in an office decorated with religious photographs and holy cards, watching a video depicting lewd homosexual acts on a desktop computer. CNA could not verify the identity of the man, whom Gonzales claims is Rutler.”
On 20 Nov 2020 Fr. Rutler wrote to his congregation denying the guard’s claims, but stated he had voluntarily stepped aside from his post while the incident was investigated. EWTN has placed Fr. Rutler’s show on temporary hiatus.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is investigating the claim.