Prosecutor: Sex Charges Due Monday against Vegas-Area Priest

Associated Press State & Local Wire
April 19, 2002

A Catholic priest is expected to be charged Monday with sexually abusing six boys from his parish in suburban Henderson, the Clark County district attorney said.

"We have every confidence we'll have the case ready to file on Monday," District Attorney Stewart Bell said Friday.

Bell said he was awaiting a final investigative report from Henderson police, who were still finishing follow-up interviews in the case.

The prosecutor said the Rev. Mark Roberts will face several felony sexual misconduct charges and various lesser charges involving six teen-agers he counseled during the last four years.

The 51-year-old priest has not been interviewed by police, but is cooperating through his lawyer, authorities said.

Bell said Roberts is out of the state but has agreed to surrender voluntarily for arraignment on a date to be determined after charges are filed.

The Diocese of Las Vegas has said Roberts checked into an unidentified center for treatment of an unspecified medical condition two days after he was suspended with pay Jan. 30 from his duties at St. Peter the Apostle Church.

Roberts was ordained in Rome in 1983 and served in Papua, New Guinea, before moving to Las Vegas in 1992. He served at two Las Vegas parishes before becoming pastor at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Henderson in July 1994.

The case is the first in Nevada since a national sex abuse scandal involving Catholic priests developed three months ago.

Roberts and the diocese were named in a civil lawsuit filed in March in Clark County District Court. It alleges he abused eight boys in his parish.

The lawyer representing those unidentified teens said they are now ages 16 to 21.

Bell said police were investigating complaints from six alleged victims from among that group. He said the exact number and nature of the charges will be determined on Monday.

The Las Vegas diocese has 26 parishes in Clark County and neighboring Nye, Pine and Lincoln counties, an area it says has 400,000 Catholic residents.


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