Reno Priest Accused of Inappropriate Conduct with Minor

Associated Press, carried in Las Vegas Sun
June 25, 2006

Reno, Nev. (AP) - A Reno priest accused of inappropriate conduct with a minor has taken a leave of absence, church officials said.

Bishop Randolph Calvo of the Reno Diocese said the church reported to police the accusation involving Honesto Agustin, pastor at St. Therese the Little Flower Church.

Calvo did not release details about the allegation, citing the pending investigation. He stressed that Agustin should be presumed innocent in the meantime.

"Even if the allegations are proven false, suspicion may remain in the minds of some," Calvo said in a statement. "I believe, however, that I had to take this risk, because I do not want to hide the matter from parishioners or to leave anyone in the dark as to the reasons I have taken action.

"In doing so, I am concerned that Father Honesto's reputation not be tainted if the allegation is found to be false," Calvo said.

Agustin did not return a phone call to his office Sunday and no home number was listed for him.

It's the second time in recent years that a pastor at the Reno church has taken a leave of absence because of allegations of misconduct.

In 2002, Monsignor Robert Bowling took a leave after he was accused of sexual misconduct by women in 11 lawsuits filed against the Archdiocese of Louisville, Ky., where he worked in the 1960s.

In 2003, the Louisville Diocese settled those cases and more than 200 others, agreeing to pay the victims $25.7 million.

Bowling maintained his innocence and died of cancer three days after the settlement was announced.


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