New allegation was omitted even as diocese made a change
THE REV. RUDOLF JOHN RENTERIA
Ordained: Aug. 18, 1979
Assignments: St. Matthew, Arlington; Sacred Heart, WichitaFalls; Holy Family et al., Vernon; St. Philip the Apostle, Lewisville;Holy Family, Fort Worth; St. Paul's Hospital, Dallas
The June 29, 2002, news release was technically correct: BishopDelaney was removing the Rev. Rudolf Rentería from active ministrybecause of a single accusation that he had abused a minor in 1981.
The news release stated that no other allegations of sexualmisconduct with a minor had been made against Rentería during his timein Wichita Falls, Vernon or Lewisville.
But Delaney made no mention of another sex abuse allegationinvolving an 18-year-old that had more recently come to his attention.
Delaney revealed only the earlier allegation, which involved the"improper sexual touching of a 14-year-old boy" who was a parishionerat St. Matthew Catholic Church in Arlington, documents show. The newsrelease said Rentería was unable to "confirm or deny the incidentbecause of the influence of alcohol."
"The history of this case was one which was inadequately handled bytoday's rigorous standards, particularly in terms of transparency andopenness," Delaney was quoted as saying in the release.
Removed after a reminder
The files show that Delaney, who had known of the incident foryears, removed Rentería after the 14-year-old boy's father reminded himof the allegation.
Rentería reportedly made the boy shower and then took him to bed, where the boy said he was fondled.
Delaney told the father that Rentería had "difficulty with alcoholand some sexual acting out -- but never with minors -- went to therapy,left parish ministry and has been a successful hospital chaplain forover 10 years."
When Delaney first learned of the incident, he moved the priest to aparish in Vernon. Later, after additional unspecified "disruptivebehavior" and alcohol abuse, Rentería was sent to a treatment facilityfor priests in Canada. Rentería's last assignment was as chaplain atSt. Paul's Hospital in Dallas.
In a news release, Delaney apologized for what happened to the boy."... I deeply regret that I did not act more firmly and decisively indealing with Fr. Rentería at that time," he wrote.
Two years before the announcement, the other accuser had come forward.
In March 2000, then-diocese Chancellor Robert Wilson received acomplaint from a man who said the priest had fondled and tried tosodomize him in summer 1985, soon after he graduated from high school.The incident is alleged to have taken place at the priest's home.
The man said he asked the priest to stop and the priest did so, according to the files.
A skeptical committee
"You're saying he stopped right away, you didn't have to shove himaway or hit him in the jaw or anything?" the man was asked by thediocese committee investigating the allegation.
The man told Wilson and the committee that Rentería gave him alcohol and was intoxicated.
The committee noted that the man "has stated a hostility against theCatholic Church." It questioned him closely, even raising doubts abouthis description of the priest's music collection, and noted that "hisanger, in relation to the incident, is overstated."
The committee saw Rentería as cooperative and noted that he appeared to answer questions thoughtfully.
"He is clearly depressed; in fact, the committee is concerned abouthis level of depression," according to a document in the files.
Rentería told the committee that his life at the time wascharacterized by excessive drinking and that he had alcohol-relatedblackouts. But Rentería denied the sexual assault allegation.
He became tearful during the committee interview and spoke about feelings of isolation, according to the committee report.
The committee concluded that Rentería was not a threat as long as he wasn't drinking.
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