Prosecutor Investigating Misconduct Allegation in Pennsylvania against Bishop Rhoades
South Bend Tribune
September 7, 2018
|The Most Rev. Kevin Rhoades, bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese, speaks at a news conference in Fort Wayne on Aug. 17.|
A prosecutor in Pennsylvania is investigating an accusation of misconduct against local Bishop Kevin Rhoades in Harrisburg, where he previously served as a priest and bishop.
According to a report from PennLive.com, the Diocese of Harrisburg confirmed Thursday that an allegation of misconduct was filed against Rhoades recently and forwarded to the Dauphin County District Attorney’s office and PA ChildLine. Rhoades is now bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
Diocesan spokesman Mike Barley told PennLive that the diocese “would stress that this is an allegation.”
“We will have no further comment until the investigation of the Office of the District Attorney is concluded,” Barley said.
A statement from the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend said, “Bishop Rhoades adamantly denies any validity to this accusation and the insinuation of inappropriate behavior. He did nothing wrong, and is confident any investigation will bear this out.”
Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo told PennLive that his office is investigating the allegation, which it received last month, but told the York Daily Record that there is no indication of a crime from the initial report.
Chardo also told the York Daily Record that the report was filed by a family member of a man who died in 1996, perceived the relationship as “odd” but did not witness any inappropriate conduct.
“The report we received did not include an allegation of a crime,” Chardo told the York Daily Record. “We’re following up to make sure that there is no allegation of a crime by any person.”
Chardo also said the allegation about behavior when the relative was about 18, could fall within the statute of limitations.
Rhoades was originally raised near Harrisburg, and spent the early part of his career as a Harrisburg diocesan priest. He later served as Harrisburg bishop from 2004 to 2009, before taking over as bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.
His actions in Harrisburg with the handling of two retired priests accused of abuse were recently detailed in an expansive Pennsylvania grand jury report on priest sex abuse. Rhoades reported both priests to law enforcement and defrocked one, but also cautioned church officials that publicizing the allegations against the priests, which the diocese found to be credible, could have caused “scandal.”
Last month, Rhoades announced that he would release the names of priests found credibly accused of abusing children within the diocese. He also apologized to abuse victims, saying, “The Church failed you.”