LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - After a two-day jury trial, a Louisa County jury found Father Rodney Rodis guilty of embezzling from two parishes in Louisa County.
In opening statement, Tom Garrett showed that the defendant embezzled over $1,000,000. Witnesses established this money came from the both the collection plate at mass and the donations sent to the churches post office box.
Embezzled funds were to be used for the church maintenance and construction, tsunami relief, children's mission, and mission work in Haiti among numerous other charitable causes. Instead, Rodis took the money and wired it to the Philippines where he invested in numerous properties for himself to include an oceanfront mansion.
During closing argument, Deputy Commonwealth's attorney, Rusty McGuire argued that the case was "about a Sheppard who betrayed his flock." The jury took less than an hour to convict Rodis on all ten counts. At sentencing, Tom Garrett, told the jurors they did not need to have "sympathy for Rodis but instead needed to have sympathy for the countless causes that were defrauded, and for mission work left undone."
Rodis, entered a plea of guilty to federal charges in February 2008 and was sentenced to serve 60 months in prison and make restitution. To date, the two small Louisa parishes have not received one dime, and if not for the Louisa Conviction, Rodis would have been able to return the Philippines in approximately three years, according to the release.