Former Harrisburg bishop denies misconduct allegation
HARRISBURG — A former Pennsylvania Roman Catholic bishop who now serves in Indiana has denied an allegation of misconduct.
The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend told PennLive.com in a statement Thursday that former Harrisburg bishop Kevin Rhoades “adamantly denies” the accusation and that he “did nothing wrong.”
Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo received the report last month. Rhoades hasn’t been charged.
According to Chardo, the alleged male victim was around 18-years-old when the incident happened. Chardo says the individual died in 1996.
“The report alleged that they perceived the relationship as odd,” Chardo said. “But they did not witness any inappropriate conduct,” he added.
The allegation would land within the statute of limitations.
“We would stress that this is an allegation,” said Mike Barley, a spokesman for the Harrisburg Diocese. “We will have no further comment until the investigation of the Office of the District Attorney is concluded,” added Barley.
Rhoades began with the Harrisburg Diocese in 1983 at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in York. He went on to serve as bishop from 2004 to 2009. Rhoades left Harrisburg and was named bishop of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese in Jan. 2010.
David Clogesst, former director of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests, believes Rhoades should step down while the investigation is underway.
“I urge Catholic officials in Indiana and Pennsylvania to aggressively reach out to others who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes, misdeeds or cover ups, by Rhoades or other clerics,” Clohessy said.
The accusation follows a landmark Pennsylvania grand jury report that claimed over 1,000 children in six Catholic dioceses have been abused since the 1940s.