Thursday, August 21, 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

Railroad crossing stalemate continues

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 9 Comments

 
First day back to school brings laughter, jitters

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Potrero Hills Landfill legal appeals exhausted

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1

 
Breakfast after the Bell wins support

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2, 4 Comments

 
Suisun city employees get pay raise

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Fairfield candidates hear about lean, nimble city staff

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Free e-waste collection to benefit Scarlet Brigade

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield mayor to appear at GOP dinner

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

Girls on the Run seeks volunteer life coaches

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

 
College finalizes police department takeover, OKs bond plan

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Weather for Aug. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: Aug. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: Aug. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Militants use British killer as propaganda

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Governor criticizes new-hire pension enhancements

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

US mission to rescue hostages in Syria failed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
US official: More airstrikes in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Beheading spurs new attacks on Islamic militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 9 Comments

 
School sorry for making special ed kids sort trash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Police seek mystery pair in selfies after burglary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Teens deny threatening boy in school shooting plot

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Panel OKs state librarian despite initial concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
North Korea insults John Kerry over his looks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Ukrainian govt troops take over much of Luhansk

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Picture emerges of officer in Ferguson shooting

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 9 Comments

Navy kicks out 34 for nuke cheating

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

 
CHP says officer may face serious beating charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

8 homes destroyed, 1,500 threatened by wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Drought has state debating its unregulated pumping

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Holder says he understands mistrust of police

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Liberian slums barricaded as Ebola sets new record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoons: Aug. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
California needs pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 2 Comments

 
Tell the story, don’t be it

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A7

 
We’re spending way too much on raising our kids

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A7

.

Living

Today in History: Aug. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Aug. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Aug. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Why do parents drink alcohol after their children’s games?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Emmys: Billy Crystal to pay tribute to Williams

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

And the Emmy winners are…? We’re happy to guess!

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Aniston, Hamm, Hudson set to Stand Up to Cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Peavy pitches Giants to 8-3 win over Cubs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
WR Stevie Johnson adds depth to 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Fairfield boxer Avila set to put perfect 15-0 record on the line

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Giants win protest, rain-shortened game to resume Thursday

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

A’s stumble and must regroup with Angels coming

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Raiders FB Reece’s injury not as bad as feared

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Reality check for Phelps at Pan Pacific Champs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Kent State starting center dies at 21

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Serena Williams seeded No. 1 at US Open; Halep 2nd

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tony Stewart skipping 3rd straight race after Ward’s death

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Las Vegas spoils Mo’ne’s night, beats Philly 8-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Sharks F Torres undergoes surgery on right knee

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

US routs Dominicans in exhibition as Rose rests

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Schilling blames chewing tobacco for mouth cancer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sports on TV for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B4

 
This date in sports history for Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

BofA reaches $17B settlement with US

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Brine firm sues over biblical fracking billboard

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Apple’s stock bounces back to hit a new high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
.

Obituaries

David G. Gibson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Charles (Chuck) H. Doty

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

George ‘Wayne’ Hause

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Sharon Ilene Boyd

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9