Prison Sentence

Priest with secret marriage pleas guilty to half-million-dollar embezzlement


A retired Roman Catholic priest faces forty years in jail for stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from two rural Virginian parishes, the Associated Press reports.

On Friday Father Rodney L. Rodis, 51, pled guilty to one count of mail fraud and one of money laundering. 

Father Rodis embezzled money from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bumpass and St. Jude Church in Mineral between 2002 and 2006, prosecutors said.  He wired at least $515,231 to relatives in his native Philippines to purchase property.

Authorities said Father Rodis established bank accounts and a post office box, directing parishioners to mail contributions to them.  He then transferred the money to his personal account.

Father Rodis also used the funds to support his family, which included a spouse and three children.  He concealed them by living fifty miles away from his parishes.

"I wanted to hear Rodney Rodis admit his guilt," said William Hynes, who attends St. Jude. "And I wanted to see justice done."

The Diocese of Richmond said that Father Rodis embezzled more than $600,000 from the churches he led between 1993 and 2006.  Under a plea agreement, he has agreed to repay at least $400,000.

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