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Rhoades case DA gives some details

September 11, 2018

The relationship being investigated by the Dauphin County district attorney’s office between the current bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and a male teenager in the Diocese of Harrisburg took place while the Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades was serving there.

On Monday, District Attorney Fran Chardo told The Journal Gazette that Rhoades was a priest at St.Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Harrisburg when the alleged relationship took place.

Chardo said it remains unclear if the alleged victim was a juvenile or had turned 18 at the time. He said the alleged victim was born in 1970 and died in 1996.

Rhoades was at St. Francis of Assisi from 1990 to 1995, when he left for a faculty position at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Maryland. He also was rector there before being named bishop of the Harrisburg diocese in 2004.

That was the position Rhoades held immediately before being named bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese in late 2009.

Rhoades was not commenting on the matter beyond a statement issued last week, said Stephanie Patka, diocese spokeswoman. The statement adamantly denied the accusation and “the insinuation of improper conduct” and said Rhodes had “done nothing wrong.”

Chardo declined to identify the alleged victim and his cause of death. He stressed no inappropriate or potentially criminal conduct was observed or alleged, only that those reporting the relationship found it “odd.”

The report was one of an increased number of calls received by Chardo’s office after the Aug. 14 release of a Pennsylvania grand jury’s report revealing sexual abuse by more than 300 members of Catholic clergy in six dioceses, including Harrisburg’s.

Rhoades was mentioned in connection with his handling of allegations against two priests.   

Chardo said the investigation is continuing and pledged that when it ends, the results will be made public. 

rsalter@jg.net

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