Monday, March 24, 2008

Sins of the Father - Part 2

Man of the cloth

Rodney Lee Rodis, a native of Cagayan de Oro City, was ordained a priest in the Philippines on March 25, 1986. He came to the United States in 1991 to work for the Diocese of Richmond, in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Within three years he was appointed pastor of two small parishes in Louisa County; St. Jude church with 276 families, and Immaculate Conception church, with 114 families. Parishioners say Rodis was personable and that, “ he made the Mass very special, and was especially good with the kids”. He was incardinated into the Diocese of Richmond February 4, 2002.

Citing health problems, Rodis informed church officials of his plans to retire from active ministry at age 50. The priest allegedly suffered a stroke in October 2005, which the cleric claims impaired his memory. Rodis told the congregation he wouldn’t have any income from the diocese and suggested they have a “farewell fund-raiser” for him. The two churches raised approximately $27,000.

(The diocesan Office of Finance stipulates that all retired priests receive a pension of $18,000 per year along with a healthcare premium valued at $7,000 annually.)

Blue and white balloons festooned the hall where Rodis celebrated his 50th birthday on May 21, 2006, in a photograph published by The Catholic Virginian. The article furnished a brief history of the priest’s sixteen years of service to the Richmond Diocese. It also confirmed Rodis had left Virginia June 14th for the Philippines where he was to live at the home of his parents. He later returned to the United States to seek treatment for prostate cancer residing in Fredericksburg.

The big dipper

In November 2006, a donor to the debt reduction collection at Immaculate Conception requested acknowledgment of a $1,000 contribution for tax purposes, but the parish could not find any record of the donation. A copy of the canceled check indicated the funds had been deposited into an account, unknown to the church, at a bank in Fredericksburg. The account was in the name of the parish on which Father Rodis was the only signatory. Bank statements from the previous five years revealed that more checks from parishioners had been deposited in the account and not recorded as parish donations.

Rodis was indicted for one count of felony embezzlement of roughly $600,000 (between 9/01 and 10/06) on January 8, 2007. The bank account that Rodis is alleged to have diverted money to had less than $150 by the time officials discovered it. Additionally, authorities learned that Rodis had been living with 44-year-old Joyce Flores Sillador and three girls estimated to range in age from elementary school to college.

On January 9, Rodis was arrested at his home in Spotsylvania County, situated about 50 miles from where he had preached and celebrated Mass. He denied being married to Sillador but acknowledged that the woman, whom he shared the split-level home with since 1994, was “family” and that she knew he was a priest prior to the indictment. Neighbors said they had no reason to doubt the pair was anything other than a nice couple with three well-behaved daughters. They expressed sympathy and shock and had nothing ill to say of the family. Some had been told that Rodney was in the import-export business. One neighbor said Rodis wanted to run for public office in the Philippines.

At the time of his arrest, Rodis was in the U.S. on a religious worker's visa that was valid until 2015. Rodis surrendered his passport to make bond. The Catholic Diocese of Richmond was unaware that Rodis lived in Spotsylvania County and parishioners never suspected the former pastor lead a double life. As a Catholic priest, Rodis isn't allowed to wed and there were no indications that he married in the U.S. The diocese sought help from the FBI and Secret Service, suspended the retired priest’s faculties, and cut off his pension and health benefits. When the facts became known, a feeling of shock and betrayal settled over the parishioners of both churches the cleric victimized.

Charity begins at home

Rodis at first denied the embezzlement charges. Then he claimed it was his right to disburse funds of the church. Rodis had renovated the house on Watson Lane and later paid off the mortgage balance of $76,000 on May 26, 2006, four days after his retirement. And as the US dollar declined, Rodis gave the Philippine economy a shot in the arm by wiring at least $515,231 of the fraudulently obtained funds to relatives who purchased real estate in his native country. Detectives that searched the Watson Lane home in December found a receipt for one of the wire transfers to the Philippines dated May 24, 2006.

Unlucky number

According to court documents, Joyce Sillador and the three girls relocated to New Mexico in February 2007, "because of the high-profile nature of this case and the hounding they were receiving at the hands of the media.” In the meantime, Rodis was expected to enter a guilty plea at his March 12, 2007 arraignment. That’s when he learned the grand jury certified an additional twelve counts of embezzlement against him. The new charges accused him of stealing church money during 12 separate six-month periods between 9/95 and 9/01. The arraignment was postponed until March 30 when Rodis waived his right to a jury trial and entered a not guilty plea. A trial date was set for October 1. Rodis faced up to 20 years on each count if convicted.

Lead us not into temptation

On April 11, 2007, the daughter of a St. Jude parishioner recognized Rodis at the Richmond airport. The two were on the same Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit, which company records confirmed. Defense attorney Jack Maus said Rodis went to New Mexico to visit a family member who had a heart ailment and was sick with the flu. Judge Timothy K. Sanner revoked the $25,000 bond on May 21, 2007 after learning that Rodis violated the conditions of his release by leaving Virginia. Rodis was handcuffed and taken to the Central Virginia Regional Jail on his 51st birthday where he would await trial.

Separation of Church and State

Defense attorney, John Maus, filed a motion in July to dismiss the embezzlement charges against Rodis. The lawyer claimed the priest should not be prosecuted in court if he mishandled money donated to the two parishes. Maus argued that the Catholic Diocese of Richmond should have jurisdiction over the case due to the U.S. Constitution’s clause prohibiting government interference in church matters. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for August 27.

The defense attorney’s creative interpretation of the First Amendment raised more than a few eyebrows, but the theory never played out in court. Unfortunately for Rodis, a federal grand jury indicted him on thirteen charges of bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering on August 21, 2007.

Because of this development, state prosecutors dropped their case against Rodis, allowing the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Northern Virginia to prosecute the priest for the more serious offenses. According to authorities, the case was transferred from Louisa County to the federal courts in part to make it easier to recover the stolen money overseas. John Maus did not defend the federal charges.

Due process

U.S. District Judge Richard Williams signed a restraining order August 24 prohibiting Rodis and any entity holding assets on his behalf from transferring or disposing of the defendant’s money or property up to the amount of $515,231.00 without prior approval of the court. Rodis was also ordered to return to this country any of his assets located outside the United States, including the Republic of the Philippines. If the defendant could demonstrate that the order restrained more of his assets than $515,231, the court would consider modifying the order.

Robert J. Wagner, a federal public defender, was appointed to represent Rodis on August 28. The defendant was denied bond on the new federal charges August 31. The priest’s arraignment was set for September 6, 2007. Rodis pleaded not guilty at the hearing and waived his right to a jury trial. A Bench Trial was set to begin the following month, but was canceled a week before schedule since a Plea Agreement Hearing was slated to be heard on October 26.

Rodis pleaded guilty to one count each of mail fraud and money laundering at the hearing. The agreement mandated: "In addition, defendant agrees to forfeit all property involved in the money laundering offenses alleged in the indictment, or a sum of money equal to the amount laundered." Rodis agreed to pay at least $400,000 in restitution to the Catholic Diocese of Virginia, the full amount to be determined by the court at sentencing on February 21, 2008.

Rodis also signed a statement of facts, the first being that he had resided in Fredericksburg with his spouse, Joyce Flores Sillidor-Rodis together with their three biological children. The former pastor admitted that he devised the scheme to steal money from his churches and then took that money and deposited it into a personal bank account. The defendant acknowledged that his conduct was “knowing, willful, in violation of the law, and not by negligence or mistake.”

When mercy seasons justice

In a handwritten letter addressed to “whom it may concern” Joyce Flores Sillador-Rodis asked for mercy on behalf of her spouse who was facing a maximum of twenty years in prison for each count at sentencing. “Rodney is a very good parent to his children. He adores them. The girls miss him and need him so much. We all want to be together as a family again," she wrote in the January 18 letter to the court. The couple entered matrimony two years after Rodis was ordained a priest in the Philippines.

The letter stated that Rodis was not only a dutiful husband and loving father, he was also a devoted son to his parents never failing to provide for them. Moreover, the wife claimed Rodis was a surrogate parent to other family members in the Philippines and that he sponsored their education through college. She wrote: "He is really a very good person that happened to make a bad decision in life. But I know that it is not too late for him to make amends and make right the wrongdoing that he has committed. We are all here to support him and welcome him home with open arms and open hearts. We need him!!!"

Collateral consequences

Prosecutors asked that Rodis be given 51 months in prison. Rodis argued that 33 to 41 months would suffice. But Judge Williams went beyond that. He told Rodis that if a defendant comes before him for sentencing for betraying public trust, "I can promise you you'll get a maximum term."

The public defender asked for leniency citing Rodis’ help in trying to recover the money, his lack of a prior criminal record, and his poor health. Attorney Wagner wrote: "In addition to all of his medical concerns, he has faced the shame, humiliation and public disgrace of having this situation played out in the media for all the world to see."

But Brian Whisler, an assistant U.S. Attorney, said Rodis had been less than helpful recovering the property until the eve of his sentencing. It appeared, Whisler said, that "Rodis hoped to return to the Philippines rather well off after completing his prison term." Rodis surrendered titles for eight properties bought with church funds in the Philippines at the eleventh hour. "Finally, with regard to the understandable level of humiliation and public disgrace which flows from [his crime], the United States would respectfully assert that this presents a regrettable yet typical collateral consequence of [his] actions," prosecutors argued.

The court advised Rodis that his lack of assistance to the government in recovering stolen money was a sign that he should be given a high sentence, because he had made no effort to right his wrongs. Furthermore, the crimes happened over several years, during which he “developed a criminal mentality and kept doing it,” Williams noted. He also suggested that federal prosecutors seek a subsequent sentence reduction if Rodis fully cooperates with authorities and helps recoup the money he stole.

On February 21, 2008, federal judge Richard Williams sentenced Rodney Rodis to 63 months in prison on the charges of mail fraud and money laundering. He also ordered Rodis to pay restitution of $591,484 to the Diocese of Richmond and required that he meet with federal immigration officials for possible deportation after his prison term ends. Rodis received credit for time already served.

Before Williams handed down the sentence, Rodis apologized to his victims, including the Catholic Church, his family and society in general. "I hope that one day I'll be able to rectify my mistakes," he said. Turning directly to a group of parishioners in the courtroom, the defendant said, "I know that what I did is wrong and I know that deep in my heart, it's not good. I'm sorry for that."

The former pastor’s contrition was reminiscent of an email he had sent to some 100 parishioners on January 18, 2007, a week after his arrest:

"I'm sure that at this time you are aware of what has been going on...This is to express my heartfelt apology for the trouble this might caused you. Whatever the Church may decide regarding my case, I will fully accept the consequences. Please include me in your prayers."

(My hunch is the parishioners of St. Jude and Immaculate Conception will be happy to oblige. I’m betting they pray Rodis lives long enough to pay back the debt he owes the church. And when he’s finished making restitution he can fulfill his dream of running for public office in the Philippines.)


The priest who succeeded Rodis in 2006 was skeptical of his predecessor's apologies. "He did this for five years, systematically, and in a very organized way," the Rev. Michael Duffy said. "Restitution is what we're after."

“This guy deserves an Academy Award for the act that he put on for so many years.” -Phil Scoggin, chairman of the parish finance council at Immaculate Conception.

"Rodney laughed in the faces of his parishioners," said St. Jude parishioner Jack Dingee. "Now he turns around and laughs at authorities. He needs to suffer the consequences."

“The reason why Rodney Rodis stole from the Catholic Church was because of greed and because he wanted to support his secret 5-member family. That’s absolutely wrong. Why steal? Why raise a family without telling the Church? Why disobey the vow of celibacy without ending his vocation as a priest? That’s the height of hypocrisy!”
- Efren Dato (Former Filipino Priest)

“Rodis' crimes, deserving of judicial wrath, are despicable in various ways. For example, many of the rural churches' parishioners are working-class--the "salt of the Earth" whom Jesus especially blessed. From such people Rodis stole so that he could one day be an archipelago grandee. What's more, his plundering fuels cynicism about organized religion in general. And Rodis' greed, warns his own betrayed faith, may deflect disillusioned souls from the most important of all human paths.” -Free Lance Star; 2/23/08 Commentary

Rodney Lee Rodis and Philip Anthony Magaldi have one thing in common, they are both calculating opportunists. It’s a fraternal association that attracts members from all walks of life; blue collar, white collar, roman collar, and regrettably agents of the U.S. Department of Justice that collar criminals.

U.S. Must Pay $101.8 Million for Role in False Convictions

Justice Department appeals $100M wrongful conviction judgment

I pray the appeal's court upholds U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner's decision and that Joseph Salvati, Peter Limone, and the families of Henry Tameleo and Louis Greco receive the compensation awarded to them last July.

It's long overdue!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sins of the Father - Part 1

The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas issued a press release on February 14, 2008:

"Vicar General Michael F. Olson Wednesday announced diocesan officials have learned that Father Philip Magaldi is HIV positive, and they have alerted persons who have lodged sexual misconduct allegations against Magaldi that Magaldi is HIV positive. In addition, the diocese has notified parishes where Magaldi served of Magaldi’s health status."

Magaldi, 71, lives in a residential nursing care center and is said to have had a series of strokes that left him legally blind. He also suffers from dementia according to his caregiver. He was ordained for the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island in 1960 where he served until 1990 when he transferred to Texas.

Magaldi was removed from active priesthood in 1999 after sexual misconduct allegations emerged in Rhode Island and Fort Worth. He was formally removed from ministry in August, 2006. The Fort Worth diocese has begun the process of laicization by which a priest is returned to the status of layman. Based on private interviews, diocese officials believe Magaldi has been HIV positive since at least 2003.

Magaldi has consistently denied allegations of sexual misconduct. Nevertheless, his alleged transgressions have been documented throughout two decades both publicly and behind closed doors.

The Road to Perdition

"Priest indicted on charge of lying in affidavit that backed vonBulow"
Providence Journal; June 13, 1985; pg. A-13

"5,000 tell Violet in petition that Father Magaldi is 'sincere'"
Providence Journal; June 19, 1985; pg. A-13

"Father Magaldi pleads innocent to perjury, obstruction of justice
Pastor involved in vonBulow case is released for hearing"
Providence Journal; June 20, 1985; pg. A-08

Alan Dershowitz authored the book,
Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bülow Case, (1986)

"State drops all charges against Father Magaldi"
Providence Journal; June 19, 1987; pg. A-01

"Pastor resigns after probe shows accounting errors
Bishop makes unusual disclosure from the pulpit of St. Anthony's"
Providence Journal; May 30, 1988; pg. A-03

Magaldi has been on leave since the week before Easter, when he announced he was going to San Antonio to attend an intensive program to learn Spanish.

"Diocesan Report: Church building fund 'intermingled' Says former pastor of St. Anthony's in N. Providence mixed cash with other funds"
Providence Journal; June 15, 1988; pg. A-03

"Ex-pastor Magaldi gets post in Newport"
Providence Journal; October 20, 1989; pg. A-03

Parishioners learned in a financial report several weeks after Father Magaldi resigned that money from a parish building account, to which they had donated $79,000 since 1980, had been mingled with other parish accounts to pay for operating expenses and church renovations.

"Priest indicted in theft of funds from parish"
Providence Journal; November 9, 1990; pg. A-01

In August 1989, Father Magaldi returned to Rhode Island and volunteered to help at St. Augustin's Church in Newport, where the pastor was recovering from a heart attack. By January 1990, Father Magaldi had left and was assistant pastor at St. Mary's Church in Henrietta, Texas.

"Parish is relieved by indictment"
Providence Journal; November 9, 1990; pg. B-01

"Priest pleads innocent to stealing from parish"
Providence Journal; November 29, 1990; pg. B-07

"Former pastor goes on trial next week
Judge rejects motion to drop one charge against Magaldi"
Providence Journal; February 25, 1992; pg. E-01

"Priest pleads guilty in theft Stole $123,400 from parish"
Providence Journal; February 29, 1992; pg. A-01

Superior Court Judge Thomas H. Needham said he will abide by the terms of a plea bargain that Father Magaldi worked out with the attorney general's office, and will not sentence Father Magaldi to a term of more than two years in prison.

Father Magaldi, 55, appeared in court dressed in a black suit and white Roman collar. He pleaded guilty to four felony charges: embezzlement of church funds, soliciting a parish worker to commit a crime, issuing five checks with intent to defraud church funds, and filing false financial reports for three years with intent to mislead the parish.

"The Catholic Church's second greatest scandal"
Michael W. Ryan;; September 19, 2004

The same grand jury indicted an employee of Magaldi’s parish on a charge of embezzling $58,000 from the parish. That employee had control during 1987 and 1988 over moneybags containing donations collected during Sunday Masses. During that period, bank records showed the church collection was unusually low while the employee deposited unusually large amounts of cash into his personal bank accounts. The employee pleaded no contest to reduced charges as part of a plea bargain that assured his testimony against Magaldi.

"They love their priest in Texas
Father Magaldi still has his supporters despite embezzlement"
Providence Journal; March 14, 1992; pg. A-11

Bishop Delaney: the priest may have been "reckless and very careless" in the way he managed the funds of his Rhode Island church, and that he probably "unknowingly violated the law," he does not think Father Magaldi "personally profited" from his activities. The prelate said he hoped Providence Bishop Louis E. Gelineau, who is still Father Magaldi's superior, will allow him to return to his duties in Texas. In the meantime, Bishop [Robert Delaney] is giving the priest two months of rest to "recuperate" from his "recent ordeal".

"Priest wants parish to help keep him free of jail term"
Providence Journal; April 6, 1992; pg. A-01

At a news conference the day Father Magaldi entered the guilty pleas, prosecutors said they had been prepared to show that he had stolen at least $123,400 from weekly church collections, bingo games and a parish activity fund and used it to buy thousands of dollars in lottery tickets and to support a lavish lifestyle that included trips, with several young male friends, to luxury resorts and hotels.

Some have noted that after Father Magaldi's departure it took the parish only two years to raise the money to build a new parish center. Before he left, the parish had been trying to raise the money for 10 years but the building fund never seemed to grow.

"Fr. Magaldi gets 2 years for stealing"
Providence Journal; May 6, 1992; pg. A-01

"I'm ready to accept whatever sentence" the court imposes, Father Magaldi, his usual strong voice cracking, told Needham before the judge pronounced sentence. "I only ask in God's name not to send me to jail but allow me to atone in some other way," he said, breaking into tears.

"Priest paroled after 8 months in prison"
Providence Journal; January 30, 1993; pg. A-03

The Rev. Philip A. Magaldi's status as a priest will be reviewed at the end of the two years he was ordered to spend in prison, according to William G. Halpin, a spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Providence.

1997 – Confidential Fort Worth church investigation found him "guilty of sexual exploitation" after he admitted paying an older teen to administer enemas. He denied sexual harassment allegations and remained on duty in North Richland Hills under close supervision.

(Note: Within months, Magaldi sent a letter to Bishop Delaney protesting the supervision arrangements. He found it humiliating having to make a weekly report of his daily schedule “like a child to a parent”. He was angry that the personnel board passed him over for an assignment he felt he was entitled to. He vented about having tolerated his supervising pastor’s “need to be the center of attention” for four years.)

"Bishop Hired 2 Priests after Suspensions
He defends their work since joining FW diocese"
Dallas Morning News; August 12, 1998

After being indicted on embezzlement charges in 1990, Father Magaldi told Texas parishioners that he had been forced to resign to protect a banker and a Providence politician, according to published reports. He would not provide names.

(Note: In confidential documents Magaldi professed his innocence of the embezzlement charges. His explanation for entering the guilty plea was to save “the Bishop of Providence, the priesthood, and the Church further embarrassment". It’s the old “I did it for my friends” defense,
a common theme among seasoned liars.)

"Priest vows to keep job, despite crime
Churchgoers applauds pledge after embezzling reports"
The Dallas Morning News; August 17, 1998

The Rev. Philip Magaldi received a thunderous standing ovation from parishioners Sunday when he vowed that news reports about his embezzlement conviction would not force him to leave St. John the Apostle Catholic Church. "Father Magaldi isn't going anywhere. Father Magaldi is staying right here," he told the congregation before launching into his sermon at 11 a.m. Mass.

1998 – Church officials told The Dallas Morning News that they had full confidence in Father Magaldi and that there have been no sexual misconduct allegations against him in Texas. Later, another man alleged enema-related abuse.

"Former R.I. priest accused of sex abuse"
The Dallas Morning News,
The Providence Journal
; April 27, 1999; pg. B.03

"Priest denies abuse claim"
The Providence Journal; April 29, 1999; pg. B.04

I view this as an attempt to blackmail the Diocese of Fort Worth and to embarrass the church I have served for 38 years and four months," said the Rev. Philip Magaldi, who announced his retirement Sunday as associate pastor at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church in North Richland Hills.

"Priest asks to resume duties after judge dismisses lawsuit"
Providence Journal; December 9, 2000; pg. A.05

2000 – Bishop Delaney allowed Magaldi to work in Keller (as a supply priest), where still more complaints surfaced. Among them, according to church records: Father Magaldi touched the buttocks of a teen – who was wearing a shirt touting a TV as "thin, attractive and available" – and said words to the effect of "You are not very thin back here."

"Supporters want priest reinstated
Old sex accusations false, parishioners say"
The Dallas Morning News; December 14, 2000

The Rev. Philip Magaldi and his supporters want the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth to answer this question: Why can't he preach here when he's fit to celebrate Mass with the pope in Rome? A Massachusetts man who accused Father Magaldi last year of molesting him as a child in the 1970s has been exposed as a career criminal, they say.

2001 – The priest was removed from ministry again. Magaldi pressured the Vatican to allow his return to ministry. Soon, church officials were notified that he had "pedophilic material" on his computer but did not alert police. Father Magaldi moved to Florida and tried, with no known success, to work as a priest there.

2003 – He returned to Tarrant County and lived at a retirement home, where he celebrated Mass regularly.

2006 – The News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram won a court order unsealing the diocese's clergy-abuse records. New Bishop Kevin Vann ordered Father Magaldi to cease all ministry and said he will ask the Vatican to defrock the priest.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram; November 28, 2006

The Rev. Philip Anthony Magaldi: Retired from ministry April 25, 1999. Continued to perform services at an assisted-living center in North Richland Hills until Aug. 10, 2006, when Bishop Kevin Vann forbid him from continuing to function as a priest.

"FW Diocese concealed abuse - 700 pages of unsealed records show
7 priests allowed to stay on job despite repeated warnings"
The Dallas Morning News; November 29, 2006

Fort Worth Catholic Diocese leaders systematically helped predator priests stay in ministry for two decades by concealing information from parishioners, police and the public, court records unsealed Tuesday show. The records, which The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram obtained after a 19-month legal battle, contain more than 700 pages from the personnel files of seven priests that the diocese had fought to keep secret.

"FW diocese reveals another abuser"
The Dallas Morning News; December 14, 2006

Additionally, North Richland Hills police are investigating a recent allegation that a priest named in the records, the Rev. Philip Magaldi, sexually assaulted a boy in 1994 outside a shopping center. All of the abusers whose records were unsealed worked under Bishop Vann's predecessor, Bishop Joseph Delaney, and have been removed from ministry or died. Bishop Delaney died last year. Nearly half of the 700 pages deal with Father Magaldi, who worked as an associate pastor at St. John the Apostle in North Richland Hills until 1999 and has denied wrongdoing.


The Fort Worth documents are located at

Philip Anthony Magaldi’s claim that he pleaded guilty to theft in 1990 only to protect “the Bishop of Providence, the priesthood, and the Church further embarrassment” is mind boggling in light of the fact he ultimately became a major source of embarrassment to the Diocese of Fort Worth. Despite repeated suspensions and as allegations swirled around him, Magaldi was persistent in demanding that his faculties be restored, eventually complaining of his shoddy treatment by the diocese to the Vatican.

Currently, at the request of the Fort Worth diocese, the Vatican will decide whether Magaldi should be returned to the status of layman. Bishop Vann, of Fort Worth, traveled to Rome in February to expedite the laicization process he initiated against Magaldi. I have concerns regarding the timing and sudden urgency to thrust the 71-year old into society. Particularly in light of reports that Magaldi is said to be incapacitated and unable to function without assistance. For all practical purposes, Magaldi’s career as an active minister is over.

If defrocking is intended to humiliate Magaldi, he won’t feel the impact considering he suffers from dementia. Should the Vatican hand Magaldi his walking papers, what then? Will provisions be made for his support or medical care? Will he be become a ward of the state? Will taxpayers be saddled with the financial responsibility of maintaining him for the remainder of his life? Who owns the problem, the church or the government?

When Magaldi was sentenced for his 1990 embezzlement conviction, Judge Needham stated, “Since childhood, he had been taught that stealing from the poor box was one of the most heinous crimes you could commit.”

Perhaps that was the appropriate time for the Providence diocese to begin the laicization process. Unfortunately, Bishop Gelineau swept it all under the carpet when he pawned the priest off to another diocese in Texas. The lame excuse for Magaldi’s hasty departure was that he went to study Spanish as though the language wasn’t taught in Rhode Island. Magaldi was never ordered to make restitution, as he was considered indigent. The Bishop didn’t penalize Magaldi for dipping into church funds, he simply recommended a change of scenery for the poor priest.

In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, December 2000, Magaldi is quoted as saying, "I know the Lord works in mysterious ways, but this one I have not been able to figure out. Maybe it has been a purification, to make me wake up and realize I have to be careful what I say and do, to not give the wrong impression."

When asked if he would have done anything differently by the same news agency in November 2006, Magaldi replied: “I can’t think of anything at the present time.”

2008 – “The Fort Worth diocese announces it has learned that the priest is HIV-positive.”

Some folks never ”wake up”!


Update: 8/13/08

Catholic Priest in Sex Abuse Case Dies in North Texas.

The Rev. Philip Anthony Magaldi, who weathered embezzlement charges and was accused by two people of separate but similar charges of sexual abuse, died Tuesday. He was 72.