On Thursday, Religion News Service obtained another presentment against Ruch, the result of a grassroots effort led by members of Minnesota churches in the Upper Midwest Diocese. It levels two new charges against Ruch: violation of ordination vows and “conduct giving just cause for scandal or offense, including the abuse of ecclesiastical power.”
This presentment cites seven cases in which Ruch either failed to prioritize victims in the wake of abuse allegations or knowingly welcomed individuals with histories of predatory behavior into diocesan churches without alerting church members.
It accuses Ruch of knowingly ordaining a former pastor who had previously admitted to sexual addiction and had been fired by his church after serving jail time for attempting to solicit a prostitute. According to the presentment, Ruch installed the man as rector of a church in his diocese in 2021 without informing parishioners of this history.
The document also alleges that in fall 2022, Ruch allowed Nephtali Matta, a former minister who was convicted of a felony in 2011 for domestic abuse of his now ex-wife, to become a pastoral resident (a role for future church planters) at Church of the Resurrection, headquarters of the Upper Midwest Diocese where Ruch serves as rector.
“(H)is pattern and practice of knowingly welcoming and elevating individuals who could prey on his congregations has continued beyond the events of 2019 that compelled the ACNA Province to initiate third-party investigations,” the new presentment says. “By preventing the accountability that would result from communal knowledge, he has transformed what should be, of all spaces, a sanctuary for the most vulnerable into a target for predation.”
The second presentment is currently circulating via email and requires the signatures of two clergy (at least one from the bishop’s diocese) and eight lay members (at least six of whom must be from the diocese) before it can be delivered to Beach.
This article originally appeared here.