Former Priest Has First Appearance in Reactivated Louisa Case

Richmond Times-Dispatch

July 14, 2008

LOUISA -- The former Catholic priest convicted in federal court of secretly wiring donation money overseas appeared in state court yesterday to face charges of stealing church money.

Rodney L. Rodis, 52, had John R. "Jack" Maus assigned as his defense during a hearing today that was scheduled to be at 2 p.m. but was held earlier in the day, according to the Louisa County Circuit Court Clerk's Office.

Judge Timothy K. Sanner set an arraignment hearing for 9 a.m. Monday, July 21, court records show.

The state case revives 13 felony counts accusing Rodis of stealing money donated to Immaculate Conception and St. Jude Catholic churches while he was pastor of both from 1995-2006. Rodis retired as pastor of the parishes in May 2006.

In the fall of that year, the Diocese of Richmond discovered a secret bank account in which Rodis was secretly depositing donation money. The diocese asked for a police investigation, and Rodis was indicted by a Louisa grand jury in January 2007.

The diocese later learned that Rodis had been married in his native Philippines two years before coming to the United States. He had been living with his wife and children in Spotsylvania County while pastor of the two Louisa churches.

Federal authorities then began a wire fraud investigation into the matter. Last year, then-prosecutor R. Don Short dropped state charges to let the federal case proceed but maintained the state's option to reactivate the Louisa County case.

In February, Rodis received a five-year federal prison term for mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering. Investigators believe Rodis diverted as much as $1 million for personal use during the two churches' major capital campaigns. He was ordered to pay back $591,484. He wired money to the Philippines, where his family purchased property, according to federal court evidence.

This spring, new Louisa Commonwealth's Attorney Thomas A. Garrett decided to bring the state charge against Rodis back because he thought the theft should be addressed.

Rodis could face up to 260 years in prison if convicted on all counts.

Contact staff writer Calvin R. Trice at (540) 932-3674 or


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