Bishop Rhoades denies misconduct allegation from time in Harrisburg

Bishop Kevin C Rhoades of Ft Wayne South Bend File PhotoCNA Bishop Kevin Rhoades. File Photo / CNA.

An allegation of misconduct has been filed against Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend and is being investigated by the district attorney's office. The nature of the alleged misconduct is not clear.

"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," the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend said.

According to PennLive, the Harrisburg diocese – where Rhoades served as bishop from 2004-2009 – reported the allegation to the office of District Attorney Fran Chardo and to the child protective services program, PA ChildLine.

The district attorney said the accuser, who died in 1996, was a male and about 18 years old when the alleged incident occurred. He said there is no first-hand account of the incident, but that the report received by his office "alleged that they perceived the relationship as odd" but "did not witness any inappropriate conduct."

According to PennLive, the district attorney's office is investigating the allegation against Rhoades, who has not been charged.

"We would stress that this is an allegation," Mike Barley, a Harrisburg diocesan spokesman, told PennLive. "We will have no further comment until the investigation of the Office of the District Attorney is concluded."

The alleged incident involving Rhoades took place before he became a bishop. His previous work in Harrisburg included serving as assistant chancellor, pastor of Saint Francis of Assisi Parish, and a faculty member and later rector at Mount Saint Mary's Seminary.

The diocese of Harrisburg was one of the six dioceses covered in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report that was released last month. The report found more than 1,000 allegations of abuse at the hands of some 300 clergy members in six dioceses in the state. It also found a pattern of cover up by senior Church officials.

Bishop Rhoades said last month that he would release the names of priests in his Ft. Wayne-South Bend diocese who have been accused of child sexual abuse.

"As leaders, we have an obligation to protect the vulnerable who cannot protect themselves. As a bishop, I have worked to expose and punish those responsible for abuse," Rhoades said.

"If the Pennsylvania grand jury report taught us anything, it's that victims deserve to see the names of their abusers made public for all to see. For everyone to know the pain caused by these priests."

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