Catholic Priest

Raymond R. Rhoden

Ordained: 1976
Diocese: Diocese of Pittsburgh

From Report I of the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

On April 29, 2002, the parents of an adult male met with officials from the Diocese of Pittsburgh to report that their son was sexually abused by Father Raymond R. Rhoden between 1976 and 1977. The mother stated that they considered Rhoden a family friend and that he had spent a lot of time at their home. Her son informed them that Rhoden fondled his genitals and performed oral sex on him over a number of months when he was 16 and 17 years of age.

The parents stated that they had previously spoken to Bishop McDowell (date unknown) about the sexual abuse and he told them that he would take care of the allegations.  However, they never heard from him again.  The parents related that they prayed for a long time before reporting the incident again.

A memorandum to the file dated April 30, 2002, indicates that Diocesan officials spoke with the victim via telephone. The victim told them that Rhoden spent a lot of time in his family home and that when he was 16 and 17 years of age, Rhoden performed oral sex on him.  He explained that Rhoden would come into his room after he went to bed and begin to massage his back, fondle his genitals and eventually perform oral sex on him.  He stated that this occurred on multiple occasions.  The victim was presently taken antidepressants.

The victim explained that he came forward with this information because his parents told him that Rhoden had recently come over to their home and spent some time alone with his younger brother in his room.  His younger brother advised that Rhoden did not touch him.

The victim was asked to write a statement about the abuse, and on May 20, 2002, the allegations were brought to the attention of the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office.

A handwritten note on the bottom of the memorandum dated May 21, 2002, stated that the Diocese met with Rhoden and he admitted to the sexual abuse.  The note further stated that the Diocese turned the matter over to civil authorities and that Rhoden was removed from his assignment.

In a memorandum to the file dated May 17, 2002, it was noted that Rhoden agreed to go to St. Luke Institute for a physiological evaluation.  An evaluation was not included in the materials provided.

The file contained a church document marked “confidential” and dated July, 2004.  It was addressed to Bishop Wuerl from Angelo Amato, Titular Archbishop of Sila. The document stated that the Dicastery had examined the case and agreed with the decision to allow Rhoden to remain in retirement. They stated that because the case involved “a single case of abuse” and it “occurred over 25 years ago,” penal procedures and penalties would not apply.

A document entitled “File Review for Compliance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” noted that Rhoden moved to Sarasota, Florida. He received $750 per month for sustenance. In January 2003, Wuerl granted Rhoden an additional $400 per month to assist with housing and food.

Additional information regarding the widespread sexual abuse of children within the Catholic Dioceses of Pennsylvania and the systemic cover up by senior church officials is compiled in the Pennsylvania Diocese Victim’s Report published by the Pennsylvania Attorney General following a two-year grand jury investigation.  A complete copy of the Report is available on the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s website.