11/02/2008

Sentenced To 200 Years In Prison

Former Catholic priest Rodney Rodis (see prior story) was sentenced Thursday night by a jury to 200 years in prison. Rodis was convicted by a Louisa County jury on ten felony counts of embezzlement. The retired Roman Catholic priest prosecutors said stole more than $1 million from two rural Virginia churches.

According to testimony at his state trial, Rodis said he stole the money to help his family and others in his native Philippines. But Louisa Commonwealth's Attorney Thomas A. Garrett Jr. said that Rodis invested in properties in his native country, including an upscale waterfront property.

"I feel like I can put it back behind me now," St. Jude parishioner Rosemarie Ayres said after the verdict. "I can finally put it to rest. It's over."

That was the sentiment shared by many of the parishioners who have followed the Rodis trial.

He didn't testify in his two day state trial, but after being convicted on all ten embezzlement counts, he addressed the court; more directly he apologized to the flock he once used to shepherd.

Rodis says he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from two Louisa County churches so he could send money to his native Phillippines, but neither his apology, nor his explanation scored him any points with the jury. The eight women and four men who sat in on the case sentenced rodis to 200 years in prison, the maximum penalty they could levy.

"Certainly the nature of the offenses was pretty serious," Louisa County Commonwealth's Attorney Tom Garrett said after the verdict. "As embezzlement goes it doesn't get any worse than this."

"I'm disappointed that the court rejected our legal defenses and that the jury rejected our factual defenses," said defense attorney Jack Maus, "but clearly the jury felt that there was no basis for those and found him guilty based on the facts they heard."

Rodis' side claims he's made attempts to re-pay, saying he's in the process of turning over the deeds to ten properties he bought with church money. But as the man who once led St. Jude and Immaculate Conception prepares to go away for the rest of his life, his parishioners say they're still sorting through emotions.

Several parishioners testified that their faith was shaken by Rodis' violation of trust.

"He's the biggest con man. Everything he says, you can't believe," said former St. Jude parishioner Kathleen Pfeiffer. "It's like a family member violating you."

Rodis was already serving about five years in a federal prison for mail and wire fraud connected to this case. Thursday's sentence means he likely will spend the rest of his life in jail.

Father Rodis also had a wife and three children, said Rusty McGuire, a deputy prosecutor in Louisa County, VA. He was married in 1987 and lived in Fredericksburg with his family, violating priestly vows while embezzling church money away from his trusting parishioners.

3 comments:

Purple Hymnal said...

""I feel like I can put it back behind me now," St. Jude parishioner Rosemarie Ayres said after the verdict. "I can finally put it to rest. It's over."

So in other words they're still taking the blue pills???

Corky said...

200 years? Is that all? Pffft, Adam or Methusalah could have done that standing on their heads.

200 years . . . I wonder what he would have gotten for rape and murder?

Byker Bob said...

The sentence seems excessive. But, it does give a little inkling of what might have been had WCG receivership been allowed to come to logical conclusion. I think we might all feel a bit less bad about our spiritual rape if the rapists had ended up in jail.

BB