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NEW YORK, June 17, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — A New York priest has made his first public statement regarding the dismissal of charges against him.
Today Father George W. Rutler reached out to LifeSiteNews and other media today with the following remarks:
I want to express my gratitude to the many people who have written to me and offered their support over these last seven months.
After having diligently and thoroughly examined accusations, the Manhattan District Attorney has stated that he is not going forward against me
September 8, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, will be the 40th anniversary of my ordination as a Catholic priest by the Servant of God Terence Cardinal Cooke. I cherish my years of service. Please continue your prayers that the Lord may lead us all to trust in His Providence.
Rutler, the author of several books, is a familiar and beloved figure to Catholics across the United States, thanks not only to his ministry but to his many appearances on EWTN. Before Ashley Gonzalez went to the media with her allegations of sexual assault, Rutler made a statement saying that the accusations against him were untrue. He said also that he had voluntarily stepped aside from his pastoral duties for the duration of the investigation.
LifeSiteNews originally broke the news of the dismissal on May 28. Manuel Gomez, the private investigator hired by Gonzalez before she went public with her accusations against Rutler, subsequently told LifeSiteNews that he was disappointed to hear that the D.A. had dropped the charges.
Gonzalez, then 22, had worked fewer than two entire shifts at the Church of St. Michael in Manhattan on November 4, 2020, when she accused the priest of watching internet porn, indecent behavior, and then attacking her “sexually, aggressively.”
Instead of immediately calling police at 1:30 AM, when she alleged the attack happened, Gonzalez contacted Manuel Gomez, the controversial proprietor of Black Ops Private Investigators, to assist her in her complaint against Rutler. In 2017, the New York Post reported that NYPD detectives had been warned against speaking with Gomez, who allegedly was part of a “cottage industry” of bogus civil rights violation claims made against the NYPD by gang members.
In support of her claims, Gonzalez released photo footage she said showed the priest watching pornography in his office. The video appears to show a man who is completely bald watching pornography in a red room decorated with portraits of cardinals.
However, LifeSiteNews has obtained a photograph of what appears to be Gonzalez’s log sheet for her November 4 shift, and it shows that at 2 AM and 3 AM, she had found everything “all safe and secure.” LifeSiteNews reached out to Gonzalez’s former employer, also named Manuel Gomez (no relation to the private investigator) of MG Security Services for confirmation, but did not receive a response.
LifeSiteNews also attempted to contact Gonzalez, but she has not responded.