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  Rule's Accuser Is Former Male Student

By Cody Lowe
Roanoke Times (Virginia)
August 28, 2002

The Catholic Diocese of Richmond confirmed Tuesday that an accusation of sexual misconduct against the Rev. Steven "Randy" Rule came from a former student at an all-male high school in Goochland County.

From 1975 to 1978, Rule taught government and history at St. John Vianney Seminary, a now-closed prep school for young men interested in the priesthood.

Rule, 53, was placed on administrative leave late Sunday. The priest was in the final week of a nine-year pastorate at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Roanoke when he was suspended by Bishop Walter Sullivan.

A six-member panel will review the accusation - which the diocese continues to refuse to detail - and make a recommendation to the bishop, who has the final say in deciding whether Rule is restored to active duty as a priest.

The diocese initially refused to say where the alleged incident took place or whether the accuser was a male or female. It released the additional information Tuesday, "for the sake of diocesan parishes that have been wrongly identified with the allegation."

The news release said no additional details will be released while the review continues.

Rule's tenure at St. John Vianney coincided with that of the Rev. John E. Leonard, who was the principal, and the Rev. Julian B. Goodman, another faculty member. Both Leonard and Goodman have also been accused of sexual misconduct while at the school.

Goodman has admitted that he sexually abused James Kronzer, a student at the school, from 1976 to 1978. Goodman was barred from public ministry by the diocese earlier this month.

Kronzer told The Roanoke Times on Tuesday that he remembered Rule, but that he was unaware of any inappropriate behavior between any other students and faculty members. "I was a geeky 14-year-old," Kronzer said, who kept to his own group of friends.

Leonard has been accused of abusing several students at the school, and is being investigated by the Goochland County commonwealth's attorney's office. He has denied any wrongdoing. He was returned to his pulpit after being exonerated by the diocese.

 
 

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