Former Henderson Priest May Not Get Jail Time

KLAS [Las Vegas NV]
Downloaded May 1, 2003

(April 29) -- There is a chance a former catholic priest from Henderson may not serve any jail time for molesting young boys in his parish. A judge has indicated that Mark Roberts may just get probation for his crimes. That has some Henderson parents and child advocates seeing red.

The mother of one of the victims of former Henderson priest Mark Roberts staged an informational protest outside the Clark County court house. Debra Tullgreen, wants to convince the courts to sentence Roberts to jail time. Roberts is up for sentencing next month.

She fears a judge may give him probation and believes children are only safe if Roberts and other admitted child molesters are behind bars for life. "Whether a child molester is a priest, a teacher or just your neighbor they need to be sentenced. If we have those people out what guarantees are there that they are about going to hurt future children," said Debra Tullgreen, victim's mother.

But the district attorney says the victims families agreed to probation as a possible sentence if Roberts would plead guilty to his crimes.

"By statute court can not grant probation unless Mr. Roberts has passed a psych exam and the experts say he is not a threat to the health safety morals of society," said David Roger, district attorney.

Roger explains Roberts does face time behind bars for gross misdemeanor charges but does not face a life sentence because there was not penetration involved in his admitted acts of abuse on five teenaged parishioners.


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