White collar crime is no respecter of persons. It seems that anyone can fall prey. Rev. Rodney Rodis, age 51, a retired Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison. Why? Theft on a grand scale – Rodis plead guilty in October ’07 to mail fraud and money laundering in a theft that amounted to more than $600,000.
Where did the money come from? Donations. That’s right donations from St. Jude Church and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. The theft occurred between 2002 and 2006. According to published reports, Rodis set up bank accounts and a post office box where parishioners were directed to send their contributions. Funds from those accounts were then transferred to his personal accounts.
Why? Well, it seems that Rodis actually had a wife and family. Remember, he was a priest. Somehow, wife and family and priest don’t go together in the Roman Catholic Church. Rodis, who was married two years after he became a priest, in violation of church policy, said he was “leading a double life and wanted that to end.”
At sentencing the following was stated, “He did this for five years, systematically, and in a very organized way,” the Rev. Michael Duffy said. “Restitution is what we’re after.” I guess since it says in the Bible, “You reap what you sow,” that Rodis stole for 5 years so he will serve 5 years in prison.
As an ethics speaker, (www.chuckgallagher.com) I often tell audiences that every choice has a consequence. In this case, Rodis, who is also suffering from cancer, will have time to consider the consequences of his choices. Prison is no place to live ones life. While on one hand he made poor choices to provide for his family, he now will understand the long term effects that his choices will have on all.
If there were one thing I wish I could convey to folks – before they suffer the consequences of choices – it would be to think carefully about the choices they make as the consequences affect many surrounding the person making the choices.