February 23, 2005

Bishops' audit assailed in Geneva

Chicago Tribune

By Rita Hoover
Special to the Tribune
Published February 23, 2005

Glowing results of an audit released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops this week have rankled victims' advocate groups as well as members of Geneva's St. Peter Parish, which has been rocked by the clergy sex abuse scandal.

The Rockford diocese was among 96 percent of dioceses that the report for 2004 deemed to be in compliance with conference guidelines on reporting sexual abuse by priests, even though it was found to be in contempt of court for not turning over documents subpoenaed in the criminal investigation of Geneva priest Mark Campobello.

Two days after the diocese lost its appeal of that ruling, Campobello pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two teenage girls. He is serving an 8-year sentence in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

The victims later filed civil suits against both him and the diocese, asking for damages in excess of $50,000 from each.

"To give the Rockford diocese a passing grade in light of the way they've handled the entire Campobello matter, in my mind, questions the credibility and effectiveness of this organization," said Frank Bochte, a Geneva parishioner who once was chastised from St. Peter's pulpit for publicly questioning the motives of the diocese in the case.

Posted by kshaw at February 23, 2005 06:50 AM