LARNED – Local and area churches have recently received letters and phone calls from "Pastor" Bob Ruth, who is in the Larned State Hospital, from the "Church of the Redeemed," soliciting donations and the names of prayer partners for patients at LSH. The letter asks the churches to "join with their LSH ministry in praying for the prisoners."
LSH has a full-time chaplain, the Rev. Hal Staats. "All legitimate requests come through him," said Dr. Robert Connell, superintendent of LSH. "Anyone with questions can call Rev. Staats or me and we will be glad to explain how communications work.
"I am limited on what I can explain," said Dr. Connell. "We are in the process of investigating and can’t acknowledge whether the folks are at the hospital."
The letters, which are dated from August, ask for physical healing, but also for other prayers:
• To win their motions for relief from judgment.
• For attitudes to change to one that allows us to get out and have our freedom and that not one of us destroys that opportunity.
• That this program changes to a short term or time limited one.
• Pew padding.
• A guitar.
•For the names of prayer partners.
•For church stationary.
•Approval for funds to provide a church sponsored treat for one of the three major holidays for all residents.
•That this program change to a time limited one.
"I have asked our crime investigator and attorney to look into this," said Dr. Connell. "I’m not sure if any illegal acts have been committed."
He went on to explain that patients can correspond through the mail, but LSH does have mechanisms to restrict mail.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation website, Bob Gene Ruth is a registered sex offender in the Sexual Predator Treatment Program at LSH. His convictions are:
• Aggravated indecent liberties with a child in 1998.
• Aggravated sodomy in 1998.
• Indecent solicitation in 2002.