Former St. Andrew's Priest Steps down at Chesterfield Church

By Amanda Codispoti
Roanoke Times
April 13, 2011

The Rev. Steven "Randy" Rule

A priest who left Roanoke's St. Andrew's Catholic Church in 2002 after an investigation that found inappropriate conduct with a minor has left his new church in suburban Richmond amid another allegation of "inappropriate behavior," a spokesman for the Richmond diocese said.

The Rev. Steven "Randy" Rule, a native of Roanoke, voluntarily stepped down from Church of the Epiphany in Chesterfield County last week after the new allegation, according to a statement from Bishop Francis DiLorenzo.

Diocese spokesman Steve Neill said the allegation involves neither a minor nor a criminal act.

Virginia State Police and Chesterfield County Police Department spokeswomen said they are not investigating Rule.

Neill would not describe the nature of the complaint or say whether it stemmed from a recent event or from something earlier in Rule's three decades in the priesthood.

Neill would not define "inappropriate behavior." The accuser's name was not released.

Rule could not be reached Tuesday.

Barbara Dorris, southeastern regional director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that despite orders from the pope that the church be transparent about abuse allegations, the public is still not getting the truth.

It's hard to tell what's going on "because they don't give you enough information," Dorris said. "Because you aren't getting enough information, you begin to assume the worst."

Rule came under investigation in 2002 while he headed Roanoke's St. Andrew's parish, which serves 1,600 families.

The accuser in that investigation was a student at the all-male St. John Vianney High School in Goochland County, where Rule taught government and history from 1975 until the school's closing in 1978.

Rule was placed on administrative leave a week before his nine-year tenure at St. Andrew's was to end.

The diocese's 10-week investigation concluded that "inappropriate" conduct with a minor 26 years earlier did not warrant removing Rule from the priesthood.

"There were some improprieties, but not to the level of taking the man's priesthood from him," Neill said of the 2002 investigation.

Rule was assigned to Epiphany at the conclusion of the investigation.

A receptionist at the Chesterfield County church referred questions to the Richmond diocese.

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