Fr. Bruce N. Ritter – Archdiocese of New York

| Aug 16, 2020 | Abuser Profiles, Catholic Church

Father Bruce N. Ritter

Archdiocese of New York/Conventual Franciscan

Ordained: 1956

Died: 1999

Assigned as follows:

  • 1957-1959: Unknown
  • 1960-1961: St. Anthony on Hudson (Rensselaer, NY)
  • 1962: St. Hyacinth (Granby, MA)
  • 1963: St. Francis of Assisi (Pittsburgh, PA)
  • 1964-1977: Manhattan College (New York, NY)
  • 1978-1990: Covenant House (New York, NY)
  • 1983: Mission of the Immaculate Virgin (New York, NY)
  • 1984-1989: Covenant House (Houston, TX)
  • 1990-1992: Covenant House (Anchorage, AK)

Summary of Abuse Allegations against Father Bruce N Ritter:

Fr. Bruce N Ritter, born John Ritter, was ordained a priest for the Order of Friars of Minor Conventual (“Conventual Franciscans”). He served in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania in the early years of his career. In 1968, he founded the Covenant House in Greenwich Village as a shelter and foundation for homeless and troubled youth. By 1990, he had expanded the Covenant House to sixteen cities in North and South America. He became a well-known and admired public figure, earning praise from Presidents Reagan and Bush, Sr.

According to media reports, in December 1989, a man reported that Ritter had sexually abused him when he was a teenager in 1973. That same month, a 26-year-old former male prostitute accused Ritter of paying for their recent eight-month affair with Covenant House money.

In February 1990, another alleged victim brought a lawsuit alleging Ritter abused him as a young teen seeking help from the Covenant House.

“At 14, what was I to do? Was I to say no? Was I to be put back on the streets?” the man said. “I stayed, and I endured until I could go someplace else.”

The suit was later dismissed in 1991 due to the statute of limitations. Ritter denied the allegations but resigned under pressure from his Franciscan superiors in 1990. He went on to live a quiet life in a farmhouse in rural Otsego County.

Ritter died in October 1999.

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