Catholic Priest

Charles J. Ruffenach

Ordained: 1930
Diocese: Diocese of Allentown

From the Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

On August 29, 2001, an adult victim contacted the Diocese to report physical and sexual abuse at the hands of Father Charles Ruffenach beginning in approximately 1945, when the victim was in first grade, and continuing through the eighth grade.  The victim stated that Ruffenach beat, paddled, and sexually abused him when he attended St. John the Baptist school. The abuse took place on the premises of the parish, specifically in the “boiler room.” The victim also reported at the time of abuse Ruffenach referred to it as “washing his penis.”

In the late 1980’s, the victim confronted Ruffenach regarding the abuse.  Ruffenach denied the allegations. However, during the confrontation, Ruffenach claimed that during the time of incident the victim wanted him to “wash his penis.”

At the time of the report by the victim, the Diocese responded by stating that Ruffenach was deceased and therefore it could not pursue the victim’s claims any further but offered the victim counseling. The victim advised he had been in counseling since age 29, and requested that the Diocese fund additional counseling sessions. Ultimately, the Diocese paid for eight months of counseling, amounting to several thousand dollars’ worth of counseling.

Additional information regarding the widespread sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Dioceses of Pennsylvania and the systemic cover up by senior church officials is compiled in the Pennsylvania Diocese Victim’s Report published by the Pennsylvania Attorney General following a two-year grand jury investigation.  A complete copy of the Report is available on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s website.