Priest who stole from parishes denied appeal
A charismatic priest who bolstered attendance at two rural Virginia parishes even as he stole a reported $1 million from them --and also hid a wife and children for years--was denied an appeal of his state convictions for the thefts.
The Rev. Rodney Rodis, who had served the Louisa County parishes of Immaculate Conception near Bumpass and St. Jude in Mineral, claimed his federal convictions for mail fraud and money laundering should have prevented him from being prosecuted in Louisa County Circuit Court. The Virginia Court of Appeals in Richmond denied his appeal on Tuesday.
In January 2009, Rodis was sentenced to 13 years in state prison and ordered to repay more than $400,000 stolen from the two parishes. Rodis, who had led a secret life as a married man an hour away from the churches in Spotsylvania County, will face that sentence after he completes a five-year prison term in the related federal case. The federal case included a restitution order of close to $600,000.
In February 2008, he was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison by a U.S. District Court judge.
Prosecutors had said that the stolen money was intended for church construction, tsunami relief and mission work in Haiti. Instead, according to news accounts of the trials, Rodis, a native of the Philippines, used some of the stolen money to support his wife and three children. He also wired at least $515,000 to the Philippines, where, prosecutors said, the money was used to buy numerous properties, including a three-story home with views of mountains, a jungle and the Pacific Ocean.
According to court testimony, Rodis said he stole the money to help his family and others in his native Philippines.
-- Mary Pat Flaherty
Mary Pat Flaherty
May 26, 2010; 2:33 PM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse , Mary Pat Flaherty , Virginia
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