A Roman Catholic priest accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from two Louisa County churches pleaded not guilty to federal fraud and money laundering charges Thursday.
The Rev. Rodney L. Rodis waived his right to a jury trial. U.S. District Judge Richard Williams will hear the case beginning Oct. 25. The trial is expected to last three days.
Rodis, 51, faces eight counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud and three counts of money laundering. Twelve of the counts are punishable by up to 20 years in prison, one by up to 10 years.
According to federal prosecutors, Rodis embezzled money from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Bumpass and St. Jude Church in Mineral from 2002 until last year. He allegedly wired at least $515,231 of the money to his native Philippines.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond has said Rodis embezzled more than $600,000 from the churches, where he was pastor from 1993 until he retired in May 2006 because of health problems.
Rodis originally was charged in state court with 13 embezzlement counts. The Louisa County prosecutor dropped those charges after Rodis was indicted last month by a federal grand jury.
After being charged in state court, Rodis was released on $25,000 bond. That bond was revoked in May after Rodis violated his conditions of release by flying to Detroit to visit a sick child. He remains in custody in the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw.