A local Catholic bishop accused of having an improper relationship with a Pennsylvania inmate has been cleared by the District Attorney in the county where the relationship allegedly took place.
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend says, as they anticipated, the Dauphin District Attorney found allegations of Bishop Kevin Rhoades having an improper relationship with a prison inmate during Rhoades’ time in Harrisburg were unsubstantiated, adding that the relationship was purely “in the context of pastoral care and the recognized tradition of prison ministry.”
The allegations were raised by the inmate’s family… the inmate himself died in the mid-1990s.
The full press release is below:
Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend releases statement regarding conclusion of DA investigation
FORT WAYNE, Ind. — September 13, 2018 – The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend released a statement regarding the results of the investigation completed by the Dauphin County District Attorney concerning an alleged incident during Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades’ time in Harrisburg.
Official Statement by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend appreciates the swift and thorough investigation into the unsubstantiated allegation against Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. As anticipated, the investigation exonerated Bishop Rhoades. The district attorney found the allegation was without merit and stated, “After a full investigation, the Dauphin County District Attorney has determined that there is no basis to conclude that Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades ever engaged in a criminal or otherwise improper relationship.” The relationship in question was, “in the context of pastoral care and arose out of the recognized tradition of prison ministry.”
While it’s 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 allowing appropriate authorities to determine credibility of accusations before the reputation of any individual is impugned in the court of public opinion.
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend stands firm in sympathy and support for all victims of child sexual abuse and encourages victims to report allegations. Bishop Rhoades expresses his gratitude for the support he has received from parishioners during the past week. He states, “I have offered up the pain of this difficult time for the victim survivors of child sexual abuse.”