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Former Episcopal Priest, Now Spokesman for Traditional Catholicism, accused of Sexual Assault. He Denies the Allegation

Former Episcopal Priest, Now Spokesman for Traditional Catholicism, accused of Sexual Assault. He Denies the Allegation

By David W. Virtue, DD
December 6, 2020

A former Episcopal priest, who served on Philadelphia's mainline at Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, for nine years before converting to Catholicism, has been accused of sexually assaulting a female security guard while watching hard core homosexual pornography.

Fr. George Rutler, conservative author of over 30 books and a well-known public speaker and television commentator on EWTN has denied the charges. He is the pastor of the Church of St. Michael in Manhattan, New York.

Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the New York archdiocese, told the Catholic News Agency (CAN) that Rutler's case is in the hands of the district attorney. Cardinal Dolan does not plan to open an archdiocesan investigation while the DA's investigation is ongoing.

Zwilling reiterated that Rutler had "voluntarily stepped away from his duties as pastor." He said the archdiocese is "fully cooperating" with the district attorney's office in its investigation.

The priest has apparently curtailed all public activity.

The outspoken priest is maintaining his innocence amid an investigation into an allegation that he sexually assaulted a female security guard earlier this month.

Ashley Gonzalez, a 22-year-old security guard with MG Security Services, went public Nov. 26 with an allegation that Rutler forcibly groped her, after she had allegedly seen the priest, late at night, watching homosexual pornography on an office computer in the church rectory.

The archdiocese told News12 there have been no other allegations raised against Rutler in the past. Furthermore, there were no incidents when he was an Episcopal priest when he served the liberal Anglo-Catholic congregation in Rosemont.

Gonzalez hired Manuel Gomez, a private detective and founder of Black Ops Private Investigators, to help her file a police report following the alleged incident.

Gomez told CNA that the alleged victim's family was familiar with work he had done on a previous case, and that family members had recommended that Gonzalez contact him before contacting police.

The alleged incident happened around 1:20 AM Nov. 4, Gomez said. He said Gonzalez contacted him at 2:45 AM asking for help, and that he helped her to file a police report that morning.

The alleged incident took place during Gonzalez's second night on the job, Gomez said.

According to Gonzalez, Rutler had offered that she could sit in his office when she was not actively doing her rounds. Gonzalez had finished her first set of rounds at around 1:15 AM and was sitting in the office, texting her mother when Rutler entered the office and greeted Gonzalez.

He then sat down at the computer and checked the ongoing General Election results, Gonzalez alleges, before beginning to watch a homosexual pornographic video. Gonzalez said she filmed Rutler with her cellphone as he did so.

In the video obtained by CNA, 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.

Gonzalez alleges that as she tried to exit the office, Rutler stood and slammed the door shut, breaking one of her fingernails. She alleges that he then grabbed her chest before she escaped the office.

Gonzalez sent a text message to her mother telling her that she felt unsafe and claiming that she had "almost" been raped.

In a Nov. 20 letter to his parish, Rutler denied that he "improperly touched" Gonzalez, but said he has offered to "step aside at this moment from my duties" while authorities conduct their investigation.

There were no reported incidents when Rutler served in the mainline Episcopal parish.


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