Priest Sentenced For Sexual Abuse

TMJ News, Milwaukee/August 16, 2008

Juneau - Late Friday afternoon, a judge convicted a former Catholic priest of sexually abusing three young girls decades ago.

Now in his 80s, Bruce MacArthur is on his way to jail.

We heard riveting testimony Friday from a victim who says the sexual assaults she endured more than 40 years ago still haunt her today.

Sitting with his Bible and medications in front him and wearing headphones to help him hear, the 86-year-old former priest uttered what victims have waited four decades to hear.

Judge: "How do you plea?"

"Guilty," MacArthur said.

MacArthur is convicted of sexually violating three girls, all younger than twelve. Two were in court Friday.

"I often wake up sobbing and I pray each day for God to take away the sadness and the emotional scars that are deep within me," one victim said.

The assaults happened while MacArthur ministered as a Beaver Dam hospital chaplain in the late 1960s, but the charges came to light just three years ago when the former priest gave a video deposition for a civil trial.

"What I did, I knew I was doing wrong, but I had no way of stopping. None whatsoever," MacArthur said in the video deposition.

The judge delivered an unusual punishment.

At a victim's request, MacArthur must go through ten, two-hour private conversations with that woman. He is also sentenced to six months in the county jail. After that, MacArthur's required to serve one month a year for the next six years as a reminder of his crime.

"I pray that Father MacArthur will repent, if he hasn't already, so that he will be alright with the Lord," the victim said.

MacArthur has been living at a special supervised facility for clergy in the St. Louis area. When he's out of jail, he's ordered to go back there for the rest of his life.

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