Prestigious NYC priest accused by Bronx woman of forcible touching

Ashley Gonzalez, a 22-year-old who worked as an overnight security guard at St. Michael the Archangel Church on West 34th Street in Manhattan, is calling for the arrest of 75-year-old Father George William Rutler.

News 12 Staff

Nov 26, 2020, 5:30 PM

Updated 1,243 days ago

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A prestigious New York City priest has been accused by a Bronx woman of forcible touching.
Ashley Gonzalez, a 22-year-old who worked as an overnight security guard at St. Michael the Archangel Church on West 34th Street in Manhattan, is calling for the arrest of 75-year-old Father George William Rutler.
Warning: The recount of the alleged incident may be disturbing for some.
"It was like a monster," said Gonzalez describing her alleged encounter Rutler.
News 12 obtained video she recorded that she said shows Rutler watching pornography on his computer in front of her.
News 12 has blurred the alleged sexually explicit video.
"He looked at me with a smile, looked away, and he put his hand inside his pants, and he was playing with himself," Gonzalez said, recalling her second day on the job at the church on Nov. 4. She said she tried to leave the pastor's office, but he slammed the door shut.
"He aggressively threw himself on me and grabbed me sexually, aggressively, and I was fighting him off of me," Gonzalez said, who added that she sent frantic text messages to her mother begging for help.
"That was the scariest part too. I had no one to help," Gonzalez said.
She called on Black Ops Private Investigators to help her file a police report for forcible touching. They're now calling for Father Rutler's arrest.
"Why is he still here? He should not be here. He is a threat to the parishioners," said Manuel Gomez, of Black Ops Private Investigators.
In response, the Archdiocese of New York wrote in part, "although Father Rutler has denied acting inappropriately with the security guard, he has voluntarily stepped aside from the parish, and is not currently serving as a priest..." and added that they are fully cooperating in the investigation.
Rutler is a host on Eternal Word Television Network, which told News 12 it has halted his programs while these allegations are investigated.
The archdiocese said there have been no other allegations raised against Rutler in the past.
Police could not comment on this investigation but did write in part, "the NYPD takes sexual assault and rape cases extremely seriously."
Gonzalez said she is losing trust in the church.
"I was raised to respect them and look up to them, and now I'm disgusted," she said.
Gonzalez said she has not returned to work at MG Security ever since this incident. She said the company offered to reassign her, but she declined.
MG Security told News 12 that it took every measure to protect their employee in accordance with state and federal laws to allow her to tell her story.
News 12 asked the archdiocese for a direct interview with Rutler, called his church twice and left two messages to speak with him and is waiting to hear back.


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