Bishop’s attorney defends response to child sexual abuse cases

The attorney of a local Catholic bishop is defending his response to sexual abuse within the Church.

As we reported earlier this week, Kevin Rhoades, the bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, was part of a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report on the sexual abuse of more than 1,000 children by Roman Catholic priests, including two incidents that happened while Rhoades was in charge of the Diocese of Harrisburg.

In that report, he advised against a trial for one priest, and against making the other’s identity publicly known out of fears it would cause “a scandal.”

But his attorney tells the Journal Gazette out that Rhoades did order one of the men defrocked, and argues that the report takes Rhoades out of context.

“While this language, on its face, could be misinterpreted to indicate that Bishop Rhoades wished to protect Presley or bury the allegations, Bishop Rhoades’ conduct proves otherwise,” wrote David M. Laigaie of Philadelphia, who adds that Rhoades contacted authorities once he learned of both men’s crimes.