July 01, 2005

Diocese must give records

Chicago Tribune

By Rita Hoover
Special to the Tribune
Published July 1, 2005

A Kane County judge on Thursday ordered the Catholic Diocese of Rockford to turn over medical and mental health records of a former Geneva priest serving an 8-year prison term for sexual abuse charges as well some of its files on other priests alleged to have had inappropriate contact with children.

Judge Keith Brown ruled that more than 100 pages of documents belonging to former priest Mark A. Campobello must be released for judicial inspection as part of a civil suit alleging negligence on the part of the diocese and Bishop Thomas Doran.

Campobello, 39, pleaded guilty in May 2004 to sexually abusing two adolescent girls while he was a priest in residence at Geneva's St. Peter Parish and School and a teacher at Aurora Central Catholic High School. He was first arrested by Geneva police in October 2001.

Brown said he will review the records and determine what items are allowed under state privacy laws.

The presence of a former St. Peter's teacher at the hearing may have helped the victims' attorney, Keith Aeschliman, persuade the judge to grant his request for other priest files from the diocese.

Barbara Houston, who taught at the school during the time the abuse took place, has stated publicly that she told school officials of her concerns of possible sexual misconduct back in 1999, and Aeschliman told the judge she was willing to testify to that at Thursday's hearing.

Posted by kshaw at July 1, 2005 06:58 AM