|Jury Selected to Try Ex-priest
By Calvin R. Trice
October 30, 2008
Rodis is accused of taking as much as $1 million from two Louisa parishes
Lawyers chose 12 jurors and two alternates to hear evidence in the case of a former priest accused of stealing money donated to two Louisa County churches he led.
Opening statements in the embezzlement case against Rodney L. Rodis, 52, are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today in Louisa County Circuit Court.
Rodis faces 10 felony theft counts accusing him of diverting money intended for Immaculate Conception and St. Jude Catholic churches while he was pastor of both. . Authorities believe he stole as much as $1 million from the two parishes as he solicited money for major capital campaigns.
He retired as pastor of both churches in May 2006 for health reasons. A suspicious donation deposit later that year led to an investigation and the embezzlement case against him. The probe revealed that Rodis had been living with a wife and children near Fredericksburg while leading the two churches from 1993 until his retirement, flouting centuries-old Catholic rules prohibiting priests from having sex or marrying.
Among a list of questions lawyers asked nearly 100 potential jurors yesterday was whether evidence that Rodis broke Catholic rules might prevent them from judging the criminal charges against him fairly.
Rodis, who is serving a five-year federal prison term for mail fraud, money laundering and wire fraud, appeared in court yesterday. Evidence in the federal case, which concluded against him this year and was based on the same incidents, indicated that he sent money home to his native Philippines, where family members bought property.
Rodis faces a maximum 200-year prison term if convicted of all charges in state court.
Contact Calvin R. Trice at (540) 932-3674 or email@example.com.
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