I know there’s a lot of negative attention on the Catholic church after the Pennsylvania AG revealed decades of abuse in the last 70 years.
But here’s an instance where the charges leveled against a Catholic Bishop were false, and his name has been subsequently cleared by law enforcement:
FOX NEWS – A Roman Catholic bishop in Indiana was cleared Thursday of suspicions of misconduct involving a former jail inmate he counseled while serving as a Pennsylvania priest in the 1990s.
The prosecutor in Harrisburg said Fort Wayne-South Bend Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades never engaged in a criminal or otherwise improper relationship with the man.
District Attorney Fran Chardo said “what turned out to be an unfounded report did unnecessary harm.”
The Indiana diocese said the findings showed why the credibility of accusations needs to be determined before someone’s reputation is impugned.
It did not allege any sexual misconduct by Rhoades. But a cousin of the now-dead former jail inmate contacted authorities with concerns about Rhoades, triggering the investigation.
A hotline run by the state attorney general’s office has received more than 1,000 calls since the report was released, and church officials have put several Pennsylvania priests on inactive status while new claims are being investigated.
“I have offered up the pain of this difficult time for the victim survivors of child sexual abuse,” Rhoades said in a statement released by the Indiana diocese on Thursday.
Chardo called it “a case of a public airing of mere speculation of impropriety with no foundation. In this case, the leaking of what turned out to be an unfounded report did unnecessary harm. This has done a disservice to actual victims of sexual abuse. It has also caused significant and unnecessary harm to Bishop Rhoades.”
Rhoades was Harrisburg bishop from 2004-09, and became Fort Wayne-South Bend bishop in January 2010.
You can read more about the false charges leveled at Rhoades here if you like.
Just as we like to expose when there are wayward priests or bishops in the church, we also like to report when a priest or bishop has been cleared of false charges.
I want nothing less than a church whose priests and bishops are living dedicated lives to Christ.