Former Priest to Be Paroled after Serving 8 1/2 Years for Sex Abuse

Associated Press, carried in The Mercury News
January 25, 2006

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - A former Roman Catholic priest will be released Wednesday after serving 8 1/2 years of a 10-year sentence for molesting a developmentally disabled boy, his brother said.

Prison officials confirmed that Rodrigue is due to be paroled but had no further details.

Edward Anthony Rodrigue, now 69, will live in a group home along Interstate 215 after his release from a state prison near Corcoran, said Tom Rodrigue, his brother.

Rodrigue worked in parishes in Coachella, Loma Linda, Ontario and in San Diego and Imperial counties until 1981, the last year he was assigned to work in a church. He was ordained in 1962 and was best known to parishioners as "Father Tony."

He voluntarily resigned from the priesthood in 1992. He pleaded no contest to molesting the 11-year-old boy in 1998.

As part of that investigation, Rodrigue told detectives that he had molested five or six boys annually during his 20 years as a priest, according to a copy of a 1997 San Bernardino County sheriff's report obtained by the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

At least 19 men have sued the Catholic dioceses of San Diego and San Bernardino in recent years, charging that the dioceses failed to protect them from Rodrigue. The men accuse the former priest of sexually abusing them as altar boys between 1967 and 1979 at churches in Ontario, Barstow, Calexico, El Centro, Encinitas and elsewhere.

The lawsuits allege that diocesan leaders shuffled Rodrigue among at least 11 churches and several psychological treatment centers in 17 years, even after Rodrigue pleaded no contest in 1979 to earlier misdemeanor child-molestation charges in Ontario.

Tom Rodrigue said he was concerned about his brother's release because he will "be a pedophile until the day he dies."

"There is no cure for it, and I just hope that he basically stays in a halfway house with other adults and he is never around kids," said his brother, who is now an advocate for victims of clergy abuse.

The former priest has been told that upon his release, he will be fitted with an ankle bracelet equipped with a GPS monitoring device so parole officials can track his movements, his brother said.


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