Thursday, July 15, 2010

Former area priest to be released from prison

Former area priest to be released from prison
Victims group opposes setting Campobello free

July 15, 2010

From Staff Reports suburbanchicagonews
A former Fox Valley priest convicted of sexual abuse is scheduled to be released from prison later this month, and a group supporting clergy sex victims is opposing his release.

Mark Campobello, who served as a priest in Aurora and Geneva, has been jailed for the past year on a technical parole violation. He is to be released from the Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln on July 28, state officials said Wednesday.

» Click to enlarge image Mark Campobello

Campobello was imprisoned for three years and eight months after pleading guilty in 2004 to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 1999 while he lived at the rectory of St. Peter's Church in Geneva.

He also pleaded guilty to molesting a 15-year-old girl while she was a student at Aurora Central Catholic High School in 1999 and 2000 while he served as assistant principal at the school.

In a statement released Wednesday, David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said, "Campobello is a young, healthy and dangerous predator. Given the chance, he will almost certainly molest again."

The organization is hoping other victims come forward to assure Campobello's continued incarceration.

"There's really just one hope now: that others who saw, suspected or suffered Campobello's crimes will call police and start prosecuting him for other crimes," Clohessy said.

"We're confident more victims are out there. It's just a question of them finding the courage to contact law enforcement so that other kids will be spared years of torment."

When Campobello was released from prison in February 2008, he was scheduled to be on parole for four years and had to register as a sex offender.

In April 2008, he was reimprisoned on a technical parole violation. He had a certain route he had to follow to go to work from his home. He was found guilty of violating that parole condition when he stopped to get gas, a cup of coffee and a haircut outside the approved route.

In April 2009, Campobello had been living in McHenry County, but had to move out of his house. Because he did not have a permanent residence, he again was found to be in violation of his parole.

Campobello was expelled from the priesthood by the Vatican in 2005 while he was in prison. The Rockford Diocese later issued an apology to Campobello's two female victims, who are now adults, and settled a lawsuit brought by the two women for $2.2 million.

Sun-Times Media contributed to this report.

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