Las Vegas Diocese Names 'Credibly Accused' Priests

33 Priests, Church Associates "Credibly Accused" of Sexual Misconduct

April 12, 2019 - 4:02 pm
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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Diocese of Las Vegas on Friday named 33 former Catholic priests and church associates who were "credibly accused" of sexual misconduct with children in Nevada since 1931.

Bishop George Leo Thomas apologized to the "victim survivors" and said no one who was accused still serves in any parish or school in the diocese of some 750,000 Catholics in five Nevada counties. Twenty-one of the 33 men on the list are dead, the diocese said.

"I will not allow the church to use obfuscation, secrecy or avoidance," said Thomas, who arrived in Las Vegas last May after work in church administration offices in Seattle and Helena, Montana.

"Victim survivors are believed and beloved," he said. "Truth and transparency help the healing process, both for the individual and the church."

The disclosures come amid similar revelations in church districts around the country and invitations from church leaders for abuse victims to come forward.

The Las Vegas list was compiled by a five-member diocese review board headed by former Clark County District Attorney David Roger, who said the panel applied a legal "probable cause" standard to about 80 complaints.

Thomas said the diocese has paid settlements and legal fees of about $14.5 million in child sex cases since before 1995.

Eleven of those named Friday also appeared on a "credibly accused" list published by the Reno diocese last week. The northern Nevada diocese dates to 1931 and included Las Vegas until 1995.

Both lists referred to an open investigation involving Philip Napolitano, 76, who served at schools in North Las Vegas and Reno. The Reno diocese has promised to make the final results public.

Reached by telephone at Brothers of the Holy Rosary in Reno, Napolitano said he could not comment about the allegations against him. He declined to provide the name of a legal representative.

Twelve men were listed based on complaints in other states, including Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, New York and Pennsylvania, though the Las Vegas diocese review panel reported no complaints against them in Nevada.

Notable on the list was Mark Thomas Roberts, a former pastor at a church in suburban Henderson who was said to have been the first Nevada priest accused in a nationwide church sex abuse scandal.

Roberts was removed in 2001 as pastor at St. Peter the Apostle Church. A 2002 lawsuit against Roberts and the church listed six male victims, none by name.

Roberts pleaded guilty in 2003 to lewdness and child abuse and was sentenced to three years' probation and treatment at a center for priests in Dittmer, Missouri.