LAS VEGAS -- The Las Vegas Catholic Diocese on Friday released the names of 33 clergy "credibly accused" of child sexual abuse who had served in Nevada within the last several decades.
Bishop George Leo Thomas, who opened the investigation after becoming head of the diocese in 2018, said the "church has been in secrecy and denial for a very long time."
"It's very important for me to be on record saying that I'm very deeply apologetic -- truly aggrieved -- for the people who have been abused and deeply saddened and I want to offer on behalf of this diocese a heartfelt apology," Thomas said.
The Las Vegas Diocese said of the 33 listed, 21 of the clergy members are dead and a dozen had been removed from their positions, most before the investigation began. Thomas said all the information gathered on the accused has been turned over to law enforcement.
Friday's release in Las Vegas comes on the heels of the Catholic Diocese of Reno releasing the names of 12 clergy it said were credibly accused of sexually abusing children. The 12 accused clergy members from the Reno Diocese are included in the new list.
Thomas said the Las Vegas Diocese does not know how many victims in total were abused by the clergy members, adding that would be the second part of the process.
"The victim survivor will be believed and beloved," Thomas said. "I will do everything in my power to assist them."
Investigators started work eight months ago and combed through records going back decades to look for and evaluate accusations.
David Roger, a former Clark County prosecutor who headed the Diocesan Clergy Oversight Review Board/Independent Review Board, said the clergy on the list had been accused of a broad array of sexual misconduct against children. Roger said the diocese used a standard of simply probable cause as being enough to level a credible accusation.
"It is a very low standard," Roger said.
Thomas came to Las Vegas after serving in dioceses in Seattle and Helena, Wash.
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