Bishop Rhoades exonerated in Pa. investigation
Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Roman Catholic Diocese has been exonerated by Pennsylvania authorities, who concluded a 1990s relationship he had with a male teenager “was in the context of pastoral care and arose out of the recognized tradition of prison ministry,” the diocese announced this morning.
In a statement, the diocese said it appreciated the “swift and thorough investigation into the unsubstantiated allegation” against Rhoades, who had been bishop of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, diocese before moving to Indiana in 2009.
The diocese quoted the district attorney in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, as saying the allegation was without merit and stated: ”(T)here is no basis to conclude that Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades ever engaged in a criminal or otherwise improper relationship.”
The diocese quoted Rhoades as expressing gratitude for support from parishioners during the last week, and saying: “I have offered up the pain of this difficult time for the victim survivors of child sexual abuse.”
While it’s important that allegations be brought forward, it’s equally important for due process to take place, the statement said.
“The result of this investigation underscores the importance of allowing appropriate authorities to determine credibility of accusations before the reputation of any individual is impugned in the court of public opinion,” it said.
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