by Max Brantley
Catholic Bishop Anthony Taylor has published an extensive response in the Arkansas Catholic to an anonymous complaint about improper touching of a child by a priest in Springdale. So far, neither the complainant nor the child has been identified and the bishop says facts of the accused priest's activities suggest a case of mistaken identity. The priest named in the anonymous complaint has returned to work, though because of threats, not in his normal post in DeQueen.
(Sorry I forgot to include link in original post.)
Threats have been numerous.
On June 19 the rectory in DeQueen was vandalized in what appears to be an act of rage — I hate to think what might have happened if Father Ruben had been there at the time. In investigating this crime it was learned that a man in a white pickup had been seen parked at the parish on various occasions by different parishioners. He also asked a parishioner, "Where is the Padre?" Moreover the parish office had received a mysterious phone call asking to meet with Father Ruben. When told that he would not be back for several days, the man immediately hung up the phone.
Now, three weeks later the child still has not been located and threat of violence to Father Ruben has not diminished, so today I seek your help. Last Sunday threatening flyers in Spanish were left in the churches in De Queen and Springdale. These flyers make it clear that the author is continuing to stalk Father Ruben and end with this threat: "I am waiting for the right moment to seize him and I swear by my child that I'm going to make him pay."
It is clear that we have a family in distress. I want to provide help to this child and I need your help to find this family so that we can offer them help, verify the credibility of the allegation and determine the true identity of the alleged perpetrator.
Taylor asked for help in locating the child and his family and the man who has been distributing flyers about the alleged incident.
The author of the flyer claims he has to take the law into his own hands because the Church is not going to do anything — and nothing could be further from the truth. We have supported the police investigation from the beginning — indeed, we are the ones who called the police in the first place — and if the police do file charges against anyone, we will cooperate fully. It is in our interest to protect children and to create a safe environment for everyone. It is also the right thing to do.