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Reno-Las Vegas Dioceses Pay $2.5 Million In Abuse Cases

Feb 14, 2004 | AP

The Catholic Church in Nevada has paid approximately $2.5 million in costs connected with clergy sexual abuse cases filed since 1950, the Dioceses of Reno and Las Vegas said.

"Of the 521 priests who served in the state of Nevada from 1950 to 1995, eight were accused of sexual abuse of a minor. Three of the priests were from this diocese," the dioceses said in a joint statement. "The remaining five priests were members of other dioceses or members of religious communities. None of those identified are involved in active ministry anywhere in the country at this time."

The diocese of Reno-Las Vegas was divided into separate entities in 1995. Since then there have been no allegations of sexual abuse of a minor lodged against any priest serving in the 12-county diocese of Reno, the statement said. There has been one allegation against a priest in the 5-county Las Vegas diocese.

The Las Vegas diocese said it had paid $1.8 million for settlements and counseling to victims reporting abuse in the 1950-95 period. The reports were compiled for the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. A nationwide accounting of abuse claims and costs is expected to be reported later this month.

The Reno diocese said the study included 13 victims. All of the information about the priests or their accusers was presented in an anonymous format.

In Nevada, the Rev. Mark Roberts pleaded guilty in January 2003 to lewdness and child abuse involving five teens at his Henderson parish.

Roberts, 53, was sentenced to probation and treatment at an out-of-state center for wayward priests.

Monsignor Robert Bowling of Reno died year after being named in lawsuits accusing him of sexually abusing women from 1958 to 1962 at a Catholic church and school near Louisville, Ky.

"The complaints ... claims abuse in Kentucky nearly 40 years ago, prior to his coming to Nevada," the Reno diocese statement said.

The Louisville diocese apologized in June and settled more than 200 cases, agreeing to pay victims $25.7 million. Bowling maintained his innocence despite the settlement. He died of cancer three days after it was announced.

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