NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A Catholic priest at a church in Manhattan has been accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old security guard after she discovered him watching pornography, according to reports.
Former overnight security guard Ashley Gonzalez told News 12 she was working at the Church of St. Michael the Archangel on West 34th Street on Nov. 4 when she discovered Father George William Rutler, 75, watching pornography inside his office.
It was Gonzalez’ second day on the job, she said. A cell phone video she shared with News 12 shows Rutler watching the video on his computer.
“He looked at me with a smile and looked away, and he put his hand inside his pants and he was playing with himself,” she told the outlet.
When she tried to leave the priest’s office, he slammed the door and “aggressively threw himself on me and like, grabbed me sexually, aggressively, and I was fighting him off of me,” she added.
Gonzalez filed a police report after the incident, and the NYPD has since launched an investigation, the outlet reported.
In a statement provided to News 12, Archdiocese of New York spokesman Joseph Zwilling said the organization is cooperating with the investigation.
“Although Father Rutler has denied acting inappropriately with the security guard, he has voluntarily stepped aside from the parish, and is not currently serving as a priest,” Zwilling said, according to the outlet.
Rutler sent a letter to parishioners on Nov. 20 denying that he sexually assaulted Gonzalez, the National Catholic Reporter reported.
“I strongly deny this allegation, which I maintain is incoherent and painful to my reputation and inconsistent with how I have conducted myself in 50 years of ministerial service without any accusation of misbehavior,” he wrote in the letter.