FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CNS) — The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend welcomed findings by a Pennsylvania district attorney that cleared Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of wrongdoing after an allegation of misconduct was made against him.
District Attorney Fran Chardo of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, announced Sept. 13 that “a full investigation” by his office found no evidence that Bishop Rhoades ever engaged in “a criminal or otherwise improper relationship” with a now-deceased man.
Chardo said that he believed the original report was the result of an honest, mistaken recollection, the news website PennLive reported. But the DA also said the claim has brought “significant” harm to the bishop.
The investigation of Bishop Rhoades, the former bishop of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, began after diocesan officials forwarded a recent allegation of misconduct to Chardo’s office.
Bishop Rhoades, who has headed the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese since 2010, “adamantly” denied the allegation Sept. 6 in a statement from his diocese.
After Chardo’s announcement, the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend said that “while it is important that allegations be brought forward, it’s equally important for due process to take place.”
“The result of this investigation underscores the importance of allow appropriate authorities to determine credibility of accusations before the reputation of any individual is impugned in the court of public opinion,” the diocese said.
Chardo called the accusation “a case of a public airing of mere speculation of impropriety with no foundation,” PennLive reported. He said the leaking of the allegation “did unnecessary harm” and was a “disservice to actual victims of sexual abuse.”
“It has also caused significant and unnecessary harm to Bishop Rhoades,” Chardo said.
The allegation stemmed from a 1990 trip to Puerto Rico in which Bishop Rhoades agreed to take along a young man who been paroled from the Dauphin County Prison. The man asked Bishop Rhoades if he could join him so he could visit is grandmother.
Bishop Rhoades maintained that the trip evolved as an extension of his work in prison ministry. The man died in 1996.
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103