Popular Priest Accused of Embezzling $600,000
Accusation against Roman Catholic Priest Shocks Louisa Community

By Bill Freehling [Virginia]
January 11, 2007

Bond was reduced yesterday for a Catholic priest accused of steal ing at least $600,000 from two small churches in Louisa County during the past five years.

Rodney Lee Rodis, 50, was indicted Monday by a Louisa grand jury on one felony count of embezzlement. He's accused of stealing from St. Jude Catholic Church in Mineral and Immacu late Conception Catholic Church in Buckner. He was pastor at both churches for more than a decade.

Rodis faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. William Etherington, an attorney for the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, said they hope restitution will be part of any possible sentence.

Etherington said the total loss is estimated at $600,000. Louisa Commonwealth's Attorney Don Short said only that the amount of money was "considerable."

State police Sgt. Kevin Barrick said the investigation continues, and that "the amount is still getting larger." He said the figure is probably higher than $,000. Rodis is accused of embezzling the funds between September 2001 and this past October.

Etherington said that Immacu late Conception has 114 families, and St. Jude has 276.

Rodis was arrested Tuesday and had been at the Central Virginia Regional Jail in Orange under a $100,000 bond. Yesterday morn ing, Louisa General District Judge Edward K. Carpenter reduced his bond to $10,000.

Short said he agreed to have the bond lowered so Rodis could get out of jail before the trial. Rodis has health problems and was walking with a cane yesterday in court, Short said.

Read more in tomorrow's Free Lance-Star.


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