Vegas diocese adds name to list of credibly accused clergy

Vegas diocese adds name to list of credibly accused clergy

This photo shows The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas Friday, April 12, 2019 in Las Vegas. The Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas has made public the names of 33 former priests and church associates who it says have been "credibly accused" of sexual misconduct with children. A name was added in Aug. 2020. (Credit: Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP.)

Church officials in Nevada said Friday they’re following their counterparts in Louisiana in adding a Catholic priest who was suspended in 2018 to a list of clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse.

LAS VEGAS — Church officials in Nevada said Friday they’re following their counterparts in Louisiana in adding a Catholic priest who was suspended in 2018 to a list of clergy members credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The Diocese of Las Vegas said it suspended Henry Brian Highfill in August 2018 after learning he had been accused of abusing a now-deceased relative while Highfill was a priest in New Orleans from 1974 to 1981.

Highfill, 78, owns a home in Las Vegas, according to public records. He did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. No telephone number was found, and the diocese did not provide a contact for him.

In a statement, Las Vegas Diocese review board member David Roger, also a former Clark County district attorney, said there were no accusations or information that Highfill abused anyone in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas church officials turned over results of their investigation to Las Vegas police and the Archdiocese of New Orleans in September 2018, the statement said. They agreed to withhold Highfill’s name from a list of accused clergy pending completion of an investigation there.

On Wednesday, officials in Las Vegas learned that Highfill’s name had been added, based on a new allegation, to the list of credibly accused in New Orleans. No details about the new case were provided.

Highfill was ordained in May of 1974 in New Orleans. He left there in 1981 and served as a military chaplain before arriving in March 1999 to Las Vegas, where he had seven pastoral assignments until 2005, church officials said.

His name brings to 37 the number of priests named by the Las Vegas Diocese as credibly accused of sexual abuse. One church volunteer also is listed. Most are dead or have been removed from ministry.

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