KALISPELL (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest from northwestern Montana has been placed on administrative leave after being charged with felony sexual abuse of children over allegations of possessing pictures of on his computer.
The Rev. Rudy Bullman, 67, is scheduled to enter a plea at an arraignment hearing on March 29 in District Court in Kalispell. He remains released on his own recognizance and has been on administrative leave from Risen Christ Parish in Kalispell since Dec. 16, when the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena learned of the investigation, diocese spokeswoman Renee St. Martin Wizeman said Tuesday.
The investigation into Bullman began last October, when a woman who purchased a Nintendo DS game console from Bullman found it contained photos of nude boys, County Attorney Ed Corrigan said.
On Dec. 16, a sheriff's detective interviewed Bullman, who acknowledged using the Nintendo to view gay pornography but said he only accessed websites that clearly stated the subjects of the photos were over the age of 18. Bullman said he also viewed pornography on his computer and allowed officers to search it
The search revealed sexually explicit images of boys between the ages of 12 and18.
Court records said that when the images appeared on the computer, Bullman told the detective: "Well, those aren't adults." He told the detective that child pornography occasionally appears on his computer during searches of other websites, but he denied searching for or viewing child pornography.
The charge against Bullman was filed on Feb. 29.
Bullman, a retired Libby millworker, was ordained in June 2000.
While on administrative leave, Bullman was asked to vacate the parish residence. He has had no involvement in the ministry since the allegations surfaced and has been receiving counseling arranged by the diocese, Wizeman said.
"We have cooperated fully with the investigation," Wizeman said. "We will see what we happens moving forward, but it is important to emphasize that we do have policies in place specifically for these matters."
Wizeman didn't immediately return a phone call Wednesday morning seeking to learn if Bullman has an attorney.