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Reno Monsignor Named In 11th Lawsuit


A woman who claims Reno Monsignor Robert A. Bowling molested her at a Reno hospital when she was six months pregnant has sued the Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., where he was formerly assigned.

The suit, filed Monday in Jefferson Circuit Court, brings to 11 the number of complaints filed against Bowling, 74, a former Louisville priest who is on leave as pastor of St. Therese the Little Flower Church in Reno.

Bowling’s lawyer, John Arrascada, said they have not seen the lawsuit but Bowling has denied all allegations. Bowling declined to be interviewed, Arrascada said.

In the suit, Theresa J. Brennan-Pettipas alleges she was pregnant and a patient at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center around 1983 when the priest walked into her room, blessed her crucifix and then sexually molested her. She was a parishioner at St. Therese at the time.

She claims that when she pulled away from him and complained about what he’d done, Bowling said she could “forget about having her baby baptized in any parish in Reno,” the lawsuit said.

Brennan-Pettipas could not be reached for comment.

Bowling worked in Kentucky at St. Rita parish and two other assignments before moving to Nevada in 1969. He was serving as pastor of the 3,500-family St. Therese last year when the first sex-abuse allegations against him arose in Kentucky.

Bowling had been pastor since 1974.

To date, 210 suits have been filed against the Louisville archdiocese. All of the lawsuits allege the church knew about sex-abuse allegations against its priests and other employees and failed to report them to civil authorities or take disciplinary action against them.

The archdiocese has denied that allegation.

Prior to Monday’s suit, all but one of the 10 women who have made allegations of sexual misconduct against Bowling claim he molested them while they were schoolchildren at two parishes in Kentucky from 1955 to 1965.

Christine Filippis Clark of Reno claimed Bowling behaved inappropriately, including hugs and a kiss on the mouth, when she met with him in 1982 in Reno to discuss converting to Catholicism.

On Monday, eight other people filed lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Louisville on allegations not involving Bowling.

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