January 13, 2005

Priest paces as jury gets sex case

Detroit Free Press

January 13, 2005


The Rev. Luis Javier de Alba Campos paced the eighth floor of the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice in downtown Detroit for an hour and a half Wednesday.

He appeared deep in thought, sometimes mumbling to himself. His eyes would shut and then open when he sensed he had to turn a corner to make another loop around the courthouse.

While a Wayne County jury of 12 people deliberated -- trying to decide whether the priest sexually abused a then 7-year-old boy from southwest Detroit last spring -- de Alba Campos made it clear he wanted to be alone with his thoughts. His supporters did not interrupt him, though the priest occasionally stopped for a hug.

Only a few hours earlier, de Alba Campos, a visiting priest from Mexico working at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Detroit, had taken the witness stand in his own defense. He testified with the help of an interpreter that he was devastated when he learned he was accused of two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

"I think I died for a moment," de Alba Campos said. "At that moment, I felt that somebody was throwing my whole life into the trash. ... Everything was going down the drain as if it were dirty water. ... Somebody was trying to take away my life."

Posted by kshaw at January 13, 2005 07:09 AM