Rudenborg reported her allegations to COLA leadership in November 2020 and filed a criminal complaint against Rivera with Kane County a month later. Kane County confirmed that there was an ongoing investigation concerning Rudenborg’s case. Rudenborg said Ruch, who had heard about her allegation from another church member, offered to meet with her but did not inquire about or offer to pay for counseling.
According to Rudenborg, Rivera has sexually abused at least one other survivor while out on bond. Rivera’s lawyers did not respond to requests for comment.
Meanwhile, she said, members of COLA — which the diocese shut down in the wake of Rudenborg’s November 2020 allegations — gradually cut off communications with her. No one from COLA apologized for what happened to her or asked how they could support her.
In January 2021, Rudenborg sent an email to Ruch detailing 10 allegations against Rivera and asking the diocese to hire a third-party investigative firm. On May 4, Ruch informed the diocese of three of the allegations for the first time and announced that the diocese had hired Grand River Solutions to investigate.
After the announcement, Cherin emailed Ruch on May 5, asking him to alert the members of the diocese that the allegations involved 10 potential victims, seven more than were listed. She also asked Ruch to share that Rivera was being prosecuted on nine counts of child sexual abuse.
“I am concerned that the assertion you made about this creates a false picture and downplays the scope and seriousness of Mark’s behavior towards (Cherin’s daughter) and other victims at Rez and COLA,” she told the bishop in an email shared with RNS. “I also think it’s very important to clearly name the number of victims, what the actual allegations are, and expand on Mark’s involvement at Rez and with Rez families, so as to not minimize or downplay the gravity and seriousness of this situation, especially as it relates to Rez.”
Rudenborg said that despite her instinct to believe the 2019 allegations against Rivera, she initially convinced herself to give him the benefit of the doubt. Rivera has likable qualities, was often a good neighbor and had the support of the entire Christ Our Light Anglican community. Yet Rudenborg acknowledged that that’s why it’s so hard to identify abusers: “We think people who do monstrous things must seem more like monsters.”
This article originally appeared here.