Wednesday, October 22, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Judge sentences ex-Fairfield pastor to prison for child sexual abuse

ruark sentencing, 3/11/13

Robert Ruark bows to the spectators in the courtroom after reading a statement during his sentencing hearing in Solano County Superior Court, Monday in Fairfield. At right is his attorney Amanda Bevins. Ruark, the former pastor of St. Timothy Orthodox Church in Fairfield, had pleaded guilty to 18 charges of felony child sexual assault. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | March 12, 2013 |

FAIRFIELD — There was repeated talk of forgiveness Monday at the sentencing for a reverend who preyed on and sexually abused the children of his church.

Forgiveness, though, was shrouded by the unanswered question of whether the reverend’s faith was just a longtime guise to sate his diseased passions.

Shackled and hobbling, Robert E. Ruark, the 66-year-old former pastor of St. Timothy Orthodox Church in Fairfield, walked into a courtroom Monday afternoon, a courtroom crowded with his former parishioners and fellow clergymen on hand to watch his sentencing for 19 felony child sexual assault offenses.

Ruark, who was known as Father Silas while he was a pastor, was arrested in July 2012 after Fairfield police were told by church leaders that they had just learned that Ruark had repeatedly molested several children for many years either at the Central Way church or during sleepovers at his Suisun City home.

Ruark’s successor at the church, the Rev. John Christianson, read a letter penned by one of Ruark’s earliest victims, a church member, now an adult, who, at age 12, met Ruark in 1994.

The letter described the humiliation the boy felt because of what Ruark did to him and the choice he made to remain silent, believing he alone was in his heartache and being victimized. Ruark joined the boy with other children at a church group outing and sleepovers. The boy ended his silence when he overheard other victims had decided to tell the church archbishop that they had been repeatedly sexually abused by Ruark.

The victim’s letter recounted Ruark’s efforts to teach the orthodox faith to the boy, the books he bought for the boy and friendship between them. One of Ruark’s teachings recalled by the victim was Ruark’s likening sin to disease, with some diseases being more serious than others.

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass us against us,” Christianson said, reading from the end of the letter. “I forgive you . . . and I hope you reconcile with God.”

A few minutes later Ruark, his wrinkled hands shaking and clutching a single piece of white paper, stood and read aloud his handwritten note, saying he was deeply sorry for his inexcusable sins.

“We were family,” Ruark told those who had once respected him.

“I desire to be your friend and not your enemy,” Ruark said after invoking Scripture. He said he now had a burden too heavy to bear that he must carry with him for the rest of his life. “Please forgive me my sins,” Ruark said, tears streaming down his face as he sat back down.

Ruark’s sister spoke briefly. She said she did not understand how or why the repeated sexual assaults on children had happened and how out of character they were for her older brother.

“Never forget God loves you and forgives you,” the sister said before returning to her seat in the courtroom, surrounded by dozens of church parishioners.

Judge E. Bradley Nelson told Ruark that he had violated the trust of others in many ways and had violated the principles of the religious beliefs he had espoused.

Nelson then sentenced Ruark to an 18-year prison term that had been agreed to in a January plea deal with prosecutors. Ruark’s defense attorney, Amanda Bevins, reminded Nelson that Ruark had insisted that the victims and parishioners would not have to endure the pain of recalling in court the pain and abuse they suffered at his hand.

Police have said Ruark committed numerous sex assaults on each of his victims and had photographed some of the teens while they were nude.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or jsullivan@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 8 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • JenMarch 11, 2013 - 9:30 pm

    This is an extremely well written and balanced article. Thank you for handling a topic such as this so respectfully.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Buh ByeMarch 12, 2013 - 5:11 am

    Robert Ruark has been preying on kids his entire adullt life. To hear his empty apologies in court was as empty as he is a man. The only reason he begs for forgiveness today was because he was caught. There are many other vicctims who will never be vocal about what this man did to them. Robert Ruark used two positions of authority and trust to prey on the youth of society. For thethe safety of ourthe shildren, he should never see the outside again.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • pornacMarch 12, 2013 - 6:53 am

    We'll never understand why god let's these things happen. God will still let him in heaven since he was a good pastor.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • FF64March 12, 2013 - 8:19 am

    Huh??? He abused his position of trust as a pastor to sexually assault young men. Seems like a deal breaker to me!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • RichMarch 12, 2013 - 9:02 am

    Let us prey...(not) and let us not suffer unto the children...jeesh....never mind!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • BradMarch 12, 2013 - 9:23 am

    An "Old Yeller" type outing is much more appropriate than a prison sentence. Sexual predators are sickening. There is no reforming these monsters.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • NunMarch 12, 2013 - 9:51 am

    He will get what he deserves while in prison!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Melanie Jula SakodaMarch 12, 2013 - 8:21 pm

    No conviction can restore the innocence lost as a result of childhood sex abuse, but sometimes it can allow a victim to walk away with some feeling of justice. If you are the victim of a sexual assault, report your abuse to the professionals in law enforcement and learn your legal rights. There are people who will believe you and support you. Melanie Jula Sakoda Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) SNAP East Bay Director melanie.sakoda@gmail.com 925-708-6175

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Logue wins US Chamber of Commerce support

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
Crime key topic again at Fairfield candidates night

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 35 Comments | Gallery

 
Dixon corn maze breaks own world record

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A2, 2 Comments | Gallery

Families Helping Families preps for holidays

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Charity Tree Auction application deadline nears

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Tots can trick-or-treat at Solano Town Center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Car washes raising money to fight breast cancer

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Fairfield Police Department promotes 2, honors 1

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
2 new challenges part of 2014 Solano Turkey Trot

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
PAL center seeks volunteers

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Suisun council splits on housing element changes

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

 
Solano names new First 5 director

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A6

 
$1.4M land sale by Fairfield gets OK

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6

Action, thriller movies headed to box office

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

FBI: Denver girls may have tried to join jihadis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
IS fighters seize weapons cache meant for Kurds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Assad pursues withering campaign against rebels

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
7 arrested in Oakland raid on Black Muslim Temple

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Stinky seaweed piling up at upscale Laguna Beach

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Golden Gate Bridge officials float sidewalk toll

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

5 Jonestown victims buried in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
New rules adopted in hopes of spurring home loans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

California man goes missing during road trip

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
2nd guilty plea in California tainted beef case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Pakistani Nobel laureate honored in Philadelphia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

Cadaver dog searches in suspected serial killings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Schools scoured in search for ambush suspect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

AP-GfK Poll: Most expect GOP victory in November

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Freed Vietnamese dissident travels to US: official

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

North Korea frees US man; 2 more still detained

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
US expands Ebola checks; Rwanda to check Americans

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

WHO: Ebola vaccine trials in W. Africa in January

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Brown meets with health care experts about Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Opinion

Day, Blankenchip good for respective cities

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 3 Comments

 
‘Misleading’ mailer sent to residents

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Expect voter participation to drop

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

 

PUC chief: Likely 1st test for new Brown term

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

Editorial Cartoons: Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Spering kept youth league going

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 11 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

 
Is it OK for a business to use its contacts to raise money for a charity?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

Hummus and chocolate together? Deliciously so!

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Easy slow cooker chili that lives up to the hype

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

Roasted beets can brighten up any holiday table

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Argentina demands ‘Top Gear’ apology from BBC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘S.H.I.E.L.D’ fans push for Coulson/May romance

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
From Kors to DVF, fashion mourns de la Renta

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

.

Sports

Bruins hold off Sharks to win 5-3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local report: Vikings earn 3-0 SCAC volleyball win over Wolves

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

SJS releases season’s first wins list

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bumgarner, Giants stop Royals 7-1 in Series opener

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

49ers lose center Daniel Kilgore, needs surgery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Raiders plagued by 3rd-down defensive woes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

For a young Mexican golf star, seeing helps him believe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Shaw shoulders blame for Stanford’s slide

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Newman dodges penalty for Talladega inspection

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Logano: No worries about retaliation from Patrick

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Cowboys release Michael Sam from practice squad

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Fighters suing Mayweather over Vegas cable TV bout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

WS Game 2 starters Ventura, Peavy study in contrasts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Hats off! Royals get old-timey with tip o’ the hat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

KC, San Fran mayors announce World Series wager

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Ezeli returns as Warriors beat Clippers 125-107

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Buster’s back: Posey tries to add 3rd Series ring

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
AP sources: Rice’s appeal hearing set for Nov. 5-6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Kings GM: NHL should educate after Voynov’s arrest

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Broncos are still No. 1 in AP Pro32 rankings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

‘Blade Runner’ Pistorius gets 5 years in prison

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Google’s streaming music service adds mood to mix

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
5 problems McDonald’s is facing in the US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

New efforts to ban tobacco farm child labor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Total CEO killed in Moscow runway crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

China economy grows at slowest pace in 5 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Rufina Ferrer Levengood

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6